UFC Vet Din Thomas Looking to “Go Out on a High Note”, Believes “I Can Give Anybody a Run For Their Money” at 145
Featherweight Says He Turned Down Spot in Bellator Tourney
By Kelsey Mowatt
It’s been over four years now since Din Thomas exited from the UFC, and while the past few years have had their share of highs and lows, the accomplished veteran continues to look for more challenging and high profile fights. As a result, recently the 36 year-old, American Top Team fighter signed with the Apex Sports Agency, with the hopes that the management team will secure him the kind of opportunity he’s been searching for.
“I think the biggest thing was a sense of urgency on starting to get some stuff done,” said Thomas, while discussing his decision to sign with the Jason Chambers led ASA. “The last couple of years, I’ve been wanting to get back into the game, and I’ve been wanting to fight, keep my name out there, and explore what MMA has become, but the current road I was going, I was procrastinating too long.”
Although Thomas has only fought four times in roughly four years, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt has had his hands full teaching and training other fighters.
“I have my own academy, and I’m at a couple of other academies where I’m in the gym so much, a month will go by and I won’t even realize,” Thomas told Full Contact Fighter. “I knew that working with Apex that they would be proactive and get me out there a little bit more, extend my reach, so when Jason presented me the opportunity, I thought, alright, let’s do it.”
While Thomas has won three more bouts since his last UFC appearance, the fighter has also had his fair share of setbacks. From having a bout with decorated boxer Ricardo Mayorga fall through at the last minute, to getting in a car accident the day he was supposed to fight George Sheppard, Thomas has faced some challenges.
“In my life I’ve always been plagued by drama; weird things seem to happen to me, but I want to have a little more control over that,” said Thomas. “I’m always trying to do some different. I certainly want to put all that stuff behind me. I don’t want even to think about that stuff; the Mayorga stuff, I don’t like to think about; the car accident was dreadful…I just want to make something happen on the positive end.”
After a three plus year hiatus from the Octagon, Thomas (25-8) returned to the UFC in November, 2006, and proceeded to go 3-2 in his second run with the promotion. While Thomas is clearly interested in a third stint with the promotion, he isn’t optimistic that it will happen.
“Obviously my initial goal was to get back in the UFC,” Thomas said. “But I’m realistic about my situation. I don’t fool myself; I don’t try to entertain the thought. Me and Jason talked about it, and he said it’s going to be difficult at 145 just because there are so many guys right now, so I said, alright, that’s not a problem.So I think we’re going probably going to go a different route. Obviously if the door opens to the UFC, I would jump at it, but if not, I’m going to start fighting wherever I can fight and go out on a high note.”
“I think with my skill set, my experience, my training and knowledge, I feel like I can give anybody a run for their money,” added Thomas. “ I feel like can do good against anybody. I feel like I can reach my potential with the current crop of fighters in the UFC at 145.”
Although Thomas isn’t optimistic about his chances of signing with the UFC, according to “Dinyero”, another of the sport’s biggest promotions has shown an interest in his services.
“I’m kind of looking for single fight opportunities. I’ve actually been approached by Bellator twice–and hopefully they’ll do it again–and I turned them down twice,” said Thomas. “The reason why is that they offered me tournament slots twice, and I wasn’t really interested in fighting every four to six weeks. That’s a little too much for me, the way I train, and the way my lifestyle is.”
“When I have a fight coming up I can get pretty aggressive,” Thomas added. “I put myself in a certain dark place in my head. I can’t walk around like that for a month…I wouldn’t mind trying with an organization for three or four fights, but having them back-to-back-to-back is kind of tough for me.”