After derailing the Tom Duquesnoy hype train, UFC bantamweight Cody Stamann has his sights set on his next target: Bryan Caraway.
An athlete can be blessed with all the genetic gifts in the world, but if they lack humility deep down then they probably will never reach the pinnacle of their sport. Some people do an admirable job at faking their humble beginnings, others don’t bother. Case in point, Conor McGregor. But when a fighter is truly humble there is no faking it; it comes through loud and clear, and often times no words are needed. UFC bantamweight Cody Stamann (16-1) has the skills to be an elite 135er, with the modesty of a Michigan man, and the will of a Spartan.
Cageside Press had a chance to catch up with Stamann ahead of UFC 222, and this Michigan Top Team standout has big plans for 2018.
When the matchmakers were looking to fill out the UFC 216 fight card last year, there weren’t to many takers for prospect Tom Duquesnoy. Understandably so. At the time, ‘Fire Kid’ was 15-1 and coming off an impressive UFC debut. Enter Stamann.
“Tom is a good fighter, but I knew I was going to beat him” Stamann said when asked about his thought process for taking the fight. “I just felt that I’m better than him [Duquesnoy] anywhere the fight goes. I think my striking is just as good and I know my wrestling is better than his.”
Stamann would go on to get the split decision nod at UFC 216, but was he satisfied with his performance? “No, I really wasn’t” said the ‘Spartan’.
“I felt like should’ve finished Tom. There were times in the second round that I think I let him off the hook. I showed him too much respect and didn’t go for it like I should’ve. But I learned from it and if I ever find myself in that position again, then I know exactly what to do.”
Make no mistake about it, Stamann is squarely focused on UFC 222 and Bryan Caraway. The ‘Spartan’ is fully aware that Caraway poses the biggest challenge to his young career. “Bryan is a tough out for anybody,” says Stamann.
“I respect him [Caraway] as a fighter, but at the end of the day, he has a number by his name and when I beat him I should have the number 7 ranking next to my name.”
In today’s MMA climate where everybody needs a mouth piece to help promote their fights, some fighters just don’t sell it. Stamann does. Bold statement by the ‘Spartan’ but I believe every word.
Perhaps Stamann’s wise beyond his years approach to mixed martial arts can be traced back to his coach and head training partner, the ‘Detroit Superstar’ Daron Cruickshank.
“Having a guy like him [Cruickshank] around, someone that’s been there and done it already has been such a big help for me,” Stamann says regarding Cruickshank’s impact on his career. The ‘Detroit Superstar’ shines brightest during training camp, and according to Stamann, no one can emulate an opponent quite like Cruickshank.
“He [Cruickshank] is such an incredible athlete that trying to copy someone’s fighting style is no big deal to him. He can have my opponent’s style figured out down pat in 20 minutes.”
No doubt Cruickshank has been hard at work trying to figure out how to replicate Caraway’s style heading into UFC 222.
Stamann is well prepared to make a run at the bantamweight elite this year; he has the attitude, the team, and the talent to do so.
UFC 222 takes place March 3 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, live on PPV.