American Top Team’s Din Thomas Discusses Lookin’ For a Fight, Jones vs. Santos and More

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Din Thomas
Din Thomas Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Din Thomas is a man with many hats. A former UFC fighter, and current American Top Team Coach not the least of them. Not to mention actor, comedian, and on-screen talent for Dana White’s Lookin’ For A Fight.

“I wish my title was just Din Thomas, you know what I’m saying? Because I don’t ever want to be trapped into something. I just want to be Din that can do it all,” he told Cageside Press recently.

Thomas had plenty of topics to cover on a busy weekend for MMA, one that included an LFA event, at which Lookin’ For A Fight was filming. Although he hasn’t always had a ton of screen time, Thomas told us that “I’ve actually been on the show for two years now, but we haven’t filmed that much due to scheduling conflicts.”

However, this most recent outing was different. “This was the first time where it actually felt really easy for all of us to be in sync with each other, and have chemistry,” he said. “If you thought any other episodes were cool, that was purely editing. The crew does a great job of editing the show. But I think this time, we made it really easy for them to edit. We have a lot of good content, and I know everybody’s going to enjoy it.”

You might recognize a bit of the action when the episode drops, since the LFA 63 card has already aired. Of course, with UFC, Bellator, and ONE all having shows over the weekend, you may have missed it. But “if you’re a nerd and you happened to catch the LFA event on AXS tv, I mean there were some great fights,” Thomas proclaimed.

Now that the Lookin’ For A Fight taping is behind him, there’s a lot of action going down at ATT these days. Including Thiago Santos challenging Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship at UFC 239.

How does any fighter approach a bout with someone like Jones, arguably one of the best of all time? Jon Jones is so aware, and so versatile, Thomas pointed out. “Thiago Santos, what he has to do, is he can’t respect Jon enough to allow him to sit back and pick his shots.” Instead, said Thomas, “he’s got to absolutely put pressure on him, and try to match his diversity in terms of striking targets, calf kicks, body kicks, body punching, head shots, takedown attempts. He’s just got to really bring it to Jon, and make Jon fight him, as opposed to sitting back and going tit-for-tat.”

The tit-for-tat approach has failed other fighters before, after all. “That’s why these guys end up in trouble. They try to go tit-for-tat,” Thomas continued. “For whatever reason, they want to do that when Jon gets in front of them. But you can’t do that against a guy like Jon, because he’s just too long, too accurate. Thiago Santos has got to get really close to him and try to rough him up, and just hit him in so many different spots and just try to make Jon fight for five rounds and hopefully catch him somewhere along the way. But that’s such a tough task and a tall order for any fighter to do against Jon Jones.”

Another big fight coming up, at the very same card, is Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm. There was a lot of chirping online about Holm getting yet another title shot. But as Thomas sees it, “you’ve got to give Holly her respect. She’s never truly been shut out and embarrassed.”

Take, for example, her featherweight title fight against Cris Cyborg. “On paper, Cyborg certainly beat her pretty bad, and the numbers were pretty lopsided on paper. But she was never really shut out. You never really seen her hurt bad in a fight.”

When Holm lost the bantamweight title “against Miesha Tate, she won four rounds until she was submitted in the fifth.” The takeaway here is, “she’s always dangerous, she’s the consummate professional, she trains hard, she’s got a great camp behind her, she does her homework. She’s always going to be prepared. Even prior to stepping into a cage, she was a tremendous boxer. So she’s disciplined. You can’t take her lightly.”

Yet having said all that, “I just don’t know how well she stacks up against a motivated Amanda Nunes.”

Nunes, said Thomas, is hitting him up now to prepare for their fight in July. “She seems to be pretty motivated and doesn’t want this to get close. Amanda will be tough to beat for anybody when she’s motivated.”

Watch the full interview with Din Thomas above (parts 1 & 2), as he also covers Ben Askren, Woodley vs. Lawler 2, Colby Covington and more!

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