After another loss at UFC Vegas 31, what’s next for Jeremy Stephens?

Jeremy Stephens

Just a few years ago, Jeremy Stephens (28-19, 1 NC) was looked at as a top contender in the UFC. Stephens began his career with an impressive run in the lightweight division, but was really moving up the latter at 145 pounds.

Lil Heathen had a shot against former UFC champion Jose Aldo back in 2018 that could’ve earned him a title shot. Instead, the Aldo fight was a tipping point in the wrong direction for Stephens.

Starting with the Aldo fight back in 2018, Stephens was 0-4, 1 NC in five fights leading into UFC Vegas 31. Now, Stephens had only lost to guys who were near the top of the division at featherweight.

After that stretch, Stephens decided to return to lightweight. On Saturday night, he took on Mateusz Gamrot (19-1, 1 NC) on the main card. This was supposed to be a good fight for Stephens to get back in the swing of things.

Instead, at UFC Vegas 31 Stephens was steamrolled by Gamrot. Gamrot secured a takedown just seconds into the fight. Just over one minute into the opening frame, Gamrot locked up a kimura and Stephens was forced to tap.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 31?

With the loss at UFC Vegas 31, Stephens is now just 0-5, 1 NC in his last six fights. In reality, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some internal discussions about letting Stephens go at this point. However, it doesn’t appear that the UFC will cut Stephens just yet.

That said, I think his next fight might be do-or-die. With that in mind, who should the promotion pair him against? Well, I’m still a fan of the UFC rebooking the fight between Stephens and Drakkar Klose (11-2-1).

The two were supposed to fight this summer, but a pre-fight shove from Stephens caused the fight to be scrapped. Stephens has said he didn’t want the fight to be rebooked, but I think it’s a fun storyline for the UFC to run with.

If that’s not the direction they go, perhaps a fight with Clay Guida (36-20). Guida is fighting Mark O. Madsen next month and win or lose, I think Guida would be a good opponent for Stephens.

If you want someone that’s virtually in the same position as Stephens, pair him with Michael Johnson (19-17). The former top contender has lost four in a row and the loser might get cut. There are definitely some entertaining options out there for Jeremy Stephens.

Sound Off: Who should Jeremy Stephens fight next?

UFC Vegas 31 Preview: Jeremy Stephens – Mateusz Gamrot

Jeremy Stephens

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 31, we will see a fun matchup in the lightweight division. Former top featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) is moving back up to 155 pounds to take on Mateusz Gamrot (18-1,1 NC).

UFC Vegas 31 is a massive fight for Jeremy Stephens. This is his first fight in over a year and he’s gone 0-4, 1 NC in his last five fights. It’s been a brutal stretch for Stephens, but it is worth noting his competition level.

If you look at Stephens record over the past few years, it’s not impressive. Stephens has gone 5-9, 1 NC in his last fifteen fights. That said, he’s been facing top tier talent along the way and has never really lost to bad competition.

His last nine UFC losses have come against: Calvin Kattar, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Jose Aldo, Renato Carneiro, Frankie Edgar, Max Holloway, Charles Oliveira, and Cub Swanson. That is quite the elite list of guys so even though he has nine UFC losses in his last fifteen fights, it’s not insanely alarming.

That said, he needs a win big time tomorrow night. It’s not going to be easy as he takes on Poland’s Mateusz Gamrot. Gamrot dropped his UFC debut by split decision last year but bounced back quickly with a knockout win over Scott Holtzman. The ATT fighter is looking to make a big statement tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 31 Prediction

Heading into UFC Vegas 31, I really have no doubts in who I think has the better skillset. To me, there’s no doubting the fact that Mateusz Gamrot has the better skills. Gamrot has good grappling and he’s slick on the feet.

He looks like he can become a real contender at 155 pounds. That said, Jeremy Stephens is the one in this fight that possesses the nuclear option. With Jeremy Stephens, he’s always just one punch away from capturing another UFC knockout.

Despite that, I’m going with Gamrot tomorrow night. I just believe that the overall skills will really play here. Expect Gamrot to mix things up to keep Stephens off-balance all night. I don’t think you’ll see a finish, but I also don’t think there will be controversy here.

Prediction: Mateusz Gamrot by Unanimous Decision

UFC books Jeremy Stephens – Mateusz Gamrot

Jeremy Stephens

The UFC has finalized a lightweight matchup that will take place in July. MMA Junkie was the first to report today that the promotion has finalized a matchup between Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) and Mateusz Gamrot (18-1, 1 NC).

The contest will take place at a UFC Fight Night on July 17th. Last night we also learned that Islam Makhachev – Thiago Moises will also be on the July 17th Fight Night. This fight is a big fight for Mateusz Gamrot.

The former KSW lightweight champion will be making just his third appearance in the UFC. Gamrot made his debut back in October and the Polish lightweight suffered his first career loss. He lost by split decision to Guram Kutateladze on Fight Island.

Gamrot bounced back in April when he knocked out Scott Holtzman in the second round of their fight. Jeremy Stephens still has a big name and a decent following so this is a huge spot for the UFC newcomer. A win over Stephens would likely get him someone in the top fifteen.

UFC return for Lil Heathen

Jeremy Stephens will be making his lightweight return on July 17th. However, he was supposed to make his lightweight return last month. Stephens was set to take on Drakkar Klose (11-2-1) just a few weeks ago.

Both men weighed in, but everything went south at the pre-fight faceoffs. Stephens shoved Klose and he shoved him so hard that there was whiplash which caused Klose to suffer a concussion.

After a rough night dealing with those symptoms, the UFC called off the fight. It was an extremely stupid move by Stephens and ended up costing him a payday. Now, he’s getting a new opponent.

Originally, the promotion was going to book Klose and Stephens again, but have decided to move in a different direction. Now, Stephens will try to snap his four-fight losing streak against a very hungry challenger in Mateusz Gamrot. Should be a good one on July 17th.

UFC Vegas 24 Preview: Jeremy Stephens – Drakkar Klose

Jeremy Stephens

In the co-main event of tonight’s UFC Vegas 24 event, we are going to see an absolute banger in the lightweight division. Top contenders square off as Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) takes on Drakkar Klose (11-2-1).

For Klose, this is the first time we are seeing him since UFC 248. That night, he took on Beneil Dariush. After a back and forth first, Klose hurt Dariush bad in the second round. However, he overextended himself trying to finish and Dariush hurt him bad.

Dariush ended up pushing forward and getting the knockout. Had Klose won that fight, he might’ve been looking at a top ten opponent in the lightweight division next. That loss snapped a three-fight win streak in the UFC.

Standing across from Klose tonight is Lil Heathen, Jeremy Stephens. Jeremy Stephens has been known as one of the more powerful strikers in the lighter divisions of the UFC for a very long time. He’s always been a fringe top contender, but he never got to a title shot.

Right now, he’s in arguably the worst stretch of his career. In 2018, Stephens had a shot with Jose Aldo. Had he won that fight, he could have had a title shot coming. However, Stephens was stopped by Aldo in the first round.

Starting with that fight, Stephens is 0-4, 1 NC in his last five UFC appearances. He’s moving back to lightweight after years at featherweight and if he loses tonight, his job could be at risk.

UFC Vegas 24 Preview

I think this is a fantastic matchup and I’m looking forward to these two striking. When it comes to UFC Vegas 24, I’m really going to be watching the range and how well Stephens is able to close the distance.

We know that Jeremy Stephens can fight with a lot of forward pressure, but sometimes, he can get picked apart from the outside. I believe that Klose has a big advantage if this fight stays at distance.

Stephens has the power to put Klose out with one shot. However, I’m not sure he’s going to land that shot at UFC Vegas 24. At the end of the day, I think this fight is going to be very close, but I see Drakkar Klose landing more from the outside and edging a decision tonight.

Prediction: Drakkar Klose by Split Decision

UFC books Jeremy Stephens – Drakkar Klose

Jeremy Stephens

The UFC has booked a fun lightweight matchup for April. MMA Junkie was the first to report yesterday that the promotion was finalizing a lightweight matchup between Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) and Drakkar Klose (11-2-1).

The proposed matchup will take place at a UFC Fight Night on April 17th in the APEX. For Jeremy Stephens, the fight marks a return to lightweight for the first time since 2012. Stephens had been a fixture of the featherweight division for about the past eight years.

“Lil Heathen” is actually still ranked inside the top ten of the UFC‘s featherweight division. However, the weight cut has never been easy for Stephens. He has missed weight a couple of times and talked openly about moving back up to lightweight one day.

Now, that day is upon us. Stephens has hit a tough stretch over the last few years. After going on a run at featherweight, the UFC gave him former champion, Jose Aldo. Had Stephens won that fight, he could’ve had a title shot. However, Stephens was finished in the first round.

Starting with the Jose Aldo fight, Stephens is 0-4, 1 NC in his last five appearances inside the octagon. Granted, he’s lost to some of the best that the promotion has to offer. Stephens is ready for a change of scenery and he has a fun dance partner for his return to the UFC‘s lightweight division.

UFC lightweight matchup

If there’s a fighter that’s truly just on the fringe of the UFC lightweight rankings, it’s Drakkar Klose. Since making his debut with the promotion back in 2017, Klose is 5-2 with his only losses coming to David Teymur and Beneil Dariush.

In his last fight, Klose was stopped by Dariush. However, Klose had Dariush hurt bad in the second round. Klose was the one pursuing the finish when he was caught with some shots that backed up him. Ultimately, Dariush found the shot that closed the show.

By the time of this fight, it would have been over a year since we’ve seen Klose in the octagon. Have to imagine he’s been working hard to tighten some things up. If he can pickup the win against Jeremy Stephens, I would say it’s a safe bet to expect him in the UFC rankings.

Edson Barboza inks a new deal with the UFC

Edson Barboza

One of the more exciting strikers in the UFC isn’t going anywhere. Today, MMA Fighting was the first to report that Edson Barboza (21-9) has inked a new deal with the promotion that he’s called home for more than ten years.

According to Barboza’s management, the new deal is a multiple fight deal that will likely keep him in the UFC for the rest of his career. Barboza had one fight left on his current contract, but the UFC was able to renew the deal before Barboza hit the open market.

Earlier this month, Barboza had expressed his frustrations with the promotion. He’s been waiting to fight for months and there’s been nothing on the table. The 35 year old has been in a state of limbo over the past few months.

Last year, Barboza dropped down to the UFC‘s featherweight division after spending his career at lightweight. He felt that this would be the best move for his career and it would lead to a world title.

However, Barboza dropped his first fight to Dan Ige by split decision. He did bounce back in October to pick up his first win at 145 pounds. Barboza is currently 14th in the UFC‘s featherweight rankings and with a new deal in hand, Barboza is anxious to get back to work.

What’s next for Barboza in the UFC?

Now that the contract situation is figured out, the question becomes, who will Barboza face? The UFC is currently exploring options for his next fight and Barboza is getting anxious to get back into the octagon.

There have been a couple of names that have been thrown out there that I’m a fan of. One of those names is Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC). Stephens is just 0-4, 1 NC in his last five fights, however, he’s still ranked eighth in the featherweight division.

The UFC attempted to make this fight in 2020, however, Stephens had to pull out of the fight. The promotion still likes this fight and it’s certainly a possibility. Another name I’ve seen thrown out there is Shane Burgos (13-2).

Burgos had an incredible fight against Josh Emmett back in June. Ultimately, Burgos came up short, but he didn’t really lose any steam despite the loss. The only two men who have defeated Burgos are Emmett and Calvin Kattar.

Burgos and Barboza are in similar positions in terms of the UFC rankings. This would be another fun matchup for fight fans. Given the new contract and Barboza’s urgency to fight, I would expect a fight announcement sooner than later.

UFC books Jeremy Stephens – Arnold Allen

Jeremy Stephens

The UFC is finalizing a tremendous featherweight contest for their card on November 7th. First reported by MMA Junkie, the promotion is planning on booking Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) against Arnold Allen (16-1).

For Jeremy Stephens, this is a make or break type of fight for the long time contender. Stephens will be entering the octagon on November 7th after going 0-4, 1 NC in his last five contests. Stephens was finished in two of those contests.

While they have all come against top competition, it’s still not a great look to the UFC when you’re riding a losing streak like this. This is the first time since 2018, that Stephens is not going to be facing a top contender in his next fight.

However, Lil Heathen is going to have his hands full. Arnold Allen is quite the exciting prospect in the UFC‘s featherweight division. Allen will walk into the cage on November 7th as the eighth ranked featherweight in the UFC. One spot ahead of the veteran, Stephens.

Big UFC test for Allen

For Allen, this is going to be the biggest test of his UFC career. The 26 year old fighter from England made his UFC debut back in 2015. Since then, Allen has gone 7-0 with the promotion with most of his fights going the distance.

Allen has been in there with some recognizable names. Most notably, Allen has had wins over former Strikeforce champion, Gilbert Melendez, and Nik Lentz. We haven’t seen Allen since January when he was able to defeat Lentz by unanimous decision.

The November 7th card is being headlined by the light heavyweight title eliminator between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixiera. This fight is another great addition to the growing card which is turning out to be a must watch for UFC fans.

UFC: Edson Barboza – Sodiq Yusuff targeted for October 10th

Edson Barboza

There has been a switch of opponents for UFC featherweight Edson Barboza (20-9). Originally, Barboza was set to headline an October 3rd event with Jeremy Stephens. However, that fight has been scrapped by the promotion.

The UFC has decided to move Barboza back a week and give him a new opponent. Per Combate and later confirmed by MMA Junkie, Edson Barboza will now take on Sodiq Yusuff (11-1) on the UFC‘s October 10th card.

Big UFC Featherweight Matchup

Barboza has hit a bit of a rough patch over the past two years. Starting in December of 2017, Barboza has gone 1-5 in his last six fights. Of course, two of those fights were very close split decision losses.

Barboza decided to move down to featherweight in his last matchup against Dan Ige. After looking great early on, Barboza would fade late in the fight and two of the judges gave the fight to Ige.

However, the good thing to take away was the fact that Barboza made the weight, and he looked pretty good at the weight class. This could be a new start for Barboza’s career.

“Super” Sodiq Yusuff was featured on the second season of Dana White’s Contender Series. After winning an impressive decision in that contest, he’s gone 4-0 inside the UFC.

The Nigerian born fighter shows off incredible striking technique with great hand speed. He has really good power, and he’s extremely exciting to watch. In his last fight, he defeated the game Andre Fili by decision.

This fight is likely going to be slotted in the co-main event spot before the Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen fight. the UFC is putting together a solid card for their next round on Fight Island.

UFC: Jeremy Stephens – Edson Barboza to headline Fight Night on October 3rd

Jeremy Stephens

The UFC is putting together an absolute banger together for the main event of their Fight Night on October 3rd. According to multiple reports, UFC featherweights Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) and Edson Barboza (20-9) will be going head-to-head.

These two are two of the more exciting fighters in the UFC‘s lower weight classes. They’ve both spent time at lightweight and featherweight, but have never crossed paths until now.

UFC Striking War

If you’re a fan of striking, this should be a fun one to watch. Barboza is going to throw a lot of flashy techniques with lightening speed while Stephens will look to uncork ungodly power that will cause Barboza to be staring at the lights.

Both of these two UFC favorites are on a really bad skid over the last few years. For Barboza he enters the octagon on October 3rd on a current stretch of 1-5 in his last six fights.

His last two fights were split decision losses. After competing at lightweight his full UFC career, Barboza dropped down to featherweight to take on Dan Ige back in May. Barboza looked great early even dropping Ige, but would fade and drop a decision.

The fight was razor close and many did believe that Barboza won the fight. It was a good sign that he looked decent in his first cut to featherweight.

Like Barboza, Stephens enters the octagon on his own skid. Stephens knocked out Josh Emmett back in early 2018, but since then, he’s gone 0-4, 1 NC in five fights.

Granted, all of the guys he has fought are top five guys in their respected divisions. Stephens last fought at UFC 249 where he was knocked out by Calvin Kattar.

This is a matchup with a ton of implications. A win for either man gets them going back in the right direction. A loss could really force one of them to evaluate where they are in their career. Should be a fun one to kick off October.