LAS VEGAS – Derrick Lewis has tall tasks in front of him in order to get another UFC title shot, but regardless, he’s in awe of how far he’s gotten in his career.

At UFC Fight Night 185 on Saturday, Lewis (24-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) faces Curtis Blaydes (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) in a fight that will propel the winner one step closer to a UFC title shot. The suggestion he’d one day become champion is something Lewis has trouble wrapping his head around.

“That would be crazy,” Lewis said at a pre-fight news conference held Thursday. “That would be really crazy for a guy like me, going through all the stuff that I went through, and becoming UFC champion, heavyweight champion of the world. That’s just crazy to even put in the same sentence as my name: ‘Derrick Lewis, heavyweight champion of the world.’

“It just felt even crazy when they announced I have the all-time knockouts in the UFC compared to all the thousands of other guys who fought before me and all the big knockout artists that they had. It’s crazy that I’m the No. 1 guy now. It’s like crazy, especially how I used to approach the sport, not even really taking it seriously. To even be this far in my career is just so crazy.”

As he enters UFC Fight Night 185, Lewis has two fights left on his six-fight contract. The outcome of Saturday’s fight could make a significant impact on future contract negotiations, and Lewis is using that as motivation.

“Even if it’s not a significant bump, that’s fine,” Lewis said. “It’d be great if I could get a significant bump (in pay). I’m not gonna even say any more about it. But yeah, it’d be great. … I’m really going into this fight because I have one more fight on my contract after this one. I have to perform (as) I’ve never performed before, especially if I want a better contract than I have right now. I’m going into this fight like it’s going to be my last shot at the UFC. I have to go out there and perform to the best of my abilities.”

UFC Fight Night 185 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.