Din Thomas Recovering From Car Crash, “Can Still Get Down With Cats” In The UFC
Anytime someone emerges from a car accident relatively unscathed, especially one where the car is totalled, there’s clearly a lot to be thankful for. While UFC veteran Din Thomas is happy to report that he incurred no career threatening injuries in his recent, October 7th car wreck, the resulting effects of the accident did prevent him from fighting George Sheppard as scheduled at Fight Time 7. For a fighter that has yet to compete in nearly two years, it may be difficult to see this cloud’s silver lining.
“I tell you what, more than anything else, that is the biggest frustration with me; just having so many negative things happen,” Thomas (25-8) told FCF recently, who has yet to fight since January, 2010, when the American Top Team fighter stopped current TUF competitor Dustin Pague at a World Extreme Fighting event. “The (Ricardo) Mayorga fight getting cancelled, this happening; it’s really frustrating because I trained really hard, so for me not to receive the benefits of fighting is really hard.”
“I’m just trying to look at this way, I’m still healthy, I can come back,” Thomas added, who was set to fight the decorated pro boxer Mayorga last May, before a court determined that the MMA bout would violate his boxing contract. “Hopefully I can make my return in the near future.”
Not only did the car accident force the American Top Team fighter’s removal from the Fight Time 7 card, it happened as Thomas was driving to the event itself in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“It could have been a lot worse,” said Thomas, who also reported that no legal issues are pending as a result of the car crash. “I’ve never been in a car accident before…I was laid up for two or three days, but after that I got up and started moving. The most serious injuries I sustained were bruised ribs and my back is still bothering me. At the time it felt a lot worse.”
With October and the 2011 campaign soon coming to a close, Thomas believes that he will indeed finish out the year without competing.
“I’m looking for probably February,” said Thomas when asked about a possible date for his next MMA bout. “I’d like to get back competing prior to that.”
While going such a long time without fighting might give some fighter’s cause for alarm, in terms of whether their profile might be diminishing, the decade plus veteran reports that he isn’t concerned with such issues.
“I don’t really care about fan appreciation for my performances as much as I used to,” said Thomas, who made his MMA pro debut in 1998. “I’m more concerned with just being competitive and doing it for me. As I’ve gotten older I feel like the less I needed people to know who I am; in fact, I kind of like staying under the radar.”
Scheduling issues and inactivity aside, Thomas has won three consecutive fights since he was released from the UFC in April, 2008, following his submission loss to Josh Neer. Due to the vet’s abilities and extensive background with the promotion, one would think that the UFC might come calling again, if Thomas continues to win.
“That’s something that I would like, but not so much for the notoriety or the prestige, but just because that’s where the better guys are,” Thomas told FCF. “I think I’m at that level; I can still get down with cats at that level, and in fact, I still get guys who are at that level looking at me for advice. I still feel like I’m at the UFC level, that I’m UFC material, so I think I deserve to be fighting those guys.”
In addition, since exiting from the UFC, Thomas has made the drop to from lightweight to featherweight, and the BJJ black belt believes the switch has only furthered his abilities to be competitive in the Octagon or elsewhere.
“Without a doubt,” said Thomas, when asked if he believes the move to featherweight has been a positive one. “My style is better suited for it. The fight game now has a lot to do with style and body type, and I think with my body type and body style, it’s more suited for 145. Back in the day, 145 was the 155 weight class, but what happened was that guys got bigger, wrestling got better, and the whole game at 155 pounds changed; it was harder for me to compete there. 145 is my new home.”
Photo courtesy American Top Team