For a guy who likes to be busy, Jeremy Stephens has been away from the octagon for a long time. Jeremy Stephens only fought once last year ahead of UFC Vegas 24 this Saturday.
“Lil Heathen”, however, admitted during media day this week that “it was good to take a step back.”
“I had to do some mental stuff. I had a lot of things to really close out personally. I’ve been doing a lot of different type of work outside of this, and it’s been really good for me,” Stephens (28-18, 1NC), with the UFC since 2007, stated. “I’ve really left no stone unturned. I had a lot of personal stuff going on, it was a good year to take off, take some time, and really set myself up for success.”
Among those personal issues, Jeremy Stephens quit drinking to help deal with his relationship with his longtime drug addict mother who nearly died before his fight with Calvin Cuttar.
Now Jeremy is back, stronger, in a new weight class. Well, not entirely new, but after spending time at featherweight, Jeremy Stephens will be competing again at 155 pounds.
“I’m not a spring chicken no more, so the weight cuts definitely get a little bit harder as I go on. Cutting 35lbs, dry heaving…” Stephens even pointed to his weight cut as the culprit behind his loss to Jose Aldo. But he expects to be able to retain his power even as he moves up a division. “The power’s there, nothing changes, it’s adding a little bit more flavor here at 55. So I’m excited to come back here and put on a show for you guys.”
That’s probably why Jeremy Stephens is competing in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 24 this weekend. There he was introduced to a young, promising Drakkar Klose. Stephens seems to always put on spectacular fights, but while he prides himself on the promotion, acknowledging it and booking it in key fights, “it’s not about the show, ” he stated.
“Come Saturday night, it’s all about the win. Win, win, win, no matter what, and having my hand raised. I don’t like going out there and being one of those performance guys, ‘oh I still put on a f*cking show,’” said Stephens, noting that “I’ve got a family to feed, bro. I’m not making top dollar like I should be. I’m not making these red panty nights. I’m moving up in the division because I want these exciting fights, I want these match-ups.”
There’s no title pursuit intentions with Jeremy Stephens, who said bluntly “fck a belt, I’m looking to fight a Nate Diaz, a Conor McGregor, and calf kick him clear the fck out of here as well.”