Stephens applying the kimura

With two wins in a row, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens wants to face a former Pride champion Takanori Gomi for his next match-up, and he knows it’s fight the fans would love to see.

With two wins in a row and four out of his last fight, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens has proven he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the world on his feet.

Proven technique and deadly power have made Stephens a force to be reckoned as seen in evidence with his highlight reel knockout of Rafael Dos Anjos or as he blasted through Marcus Davis at UFC 125.

Stephens is now ready to show the world he’s more than just a big puncher. He got the chance when he faced Danny Downes at the TUF 13 finale last weekend, and he almost went home with his opponent’s arm as a trophy.

After the fight hit the ground, Stephens sunk a kimura in as tight as anyone could possibly lock a submission. Stephens credits Downes for being a tough competitor, but he’s still trying to figure out how that didn’t end the fight.

“I have a lot of respect for him, that guy’s awesome,” Stephens told MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday about Downes. “I don’t know what else you can do to finish a kimura. I really wanted it, I was going for it. I heard a pop and I was just like this kid’s not giving up.

“I was trying to rip it off, I heard it pop several times like three times in a row. Props to Danny Downes.”

Downes did make it through all 15 minutes but not without almost losing a limb and wearing a mask of blood after a dominant performance from Stephens.

Originally, Stephens was set to face former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner Jonathan Brookins, and when he fell out of the fight and they pulled in Downes as a replacement, he knew he couldn’t take this kid lightly.

“That guy had nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Stephens commented. “It’s just like Joe Lauzon when he knocked out Jens Pulver, so I was a little nervous, I didn’t want to get caught with anything stupid. I had a great training camp and everything worked out really well.”

When the TUF 13 finale was over, Stephens walked out a winner and now he’s ready to move onto the next challenge.

The challenge Jeremy Stephens is hoping for?

“Takanori Gomi,” Stephens said with conviction. “I said to my manager ‘would it be cool if I called the guy out?’ and it’s not that I don’t like him, I just think that guys in the UFC with him haven’t fought him. I think their goal is to game plan, take the guy down, don’t let the guy fight. Me, I think I would be an exciting fight for the fans, it’s what they want and I want to give the UFC what they want.

“I think I’d be the perfect guy to go in there and just let it all hang out.”

Stephens isn’t a fan of calling anybody out and even in this case he doesn’t want anyone to think he’s calling Gomi out because he doesn’t respect him or doesn’t like the guy. Actually, it’s the exact opposite.

Stephens is admittedly a Gomi fan, and for that reason he wants to face the Japanese legend in the Octagon.

The other thing that Stephens wants to show if he fights Gomi is how much he’s learned over the past few months. Once known as a one-punch knockout fighter that only knew how to throw with power, Stephens is concentrating on becoming a complete mixed martial artist.

Well, a complete mixed martial artist that can knock your head off.

“I’m working a lot on movement because I’m not afraid to be in the pocket and just throw. Now I work a lot of head movement and a lot of angles, and good positions. If (Gomi) decides to run, I’m going to cut him off and hunt him down,” Stephens said.

“They know the power I have. If they start running, I’ll start hunting my prey down and taking them out.”

Stephens was dealing with a bit of a cold following his fight with Downes so he plans to return home and take a week off before going back in the gym next week. He says when the UFC is ready to call him back to work, he’ll be ready to go.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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