Jeremy Stephens is happy to be back on U.S. soil for his quick turnaround rematch with Yair Rodriguez at UFC Boston — and given his way he’d be fighting a lot more often.
Boston, MA — One of the most disappointing finishes to a UFC main event in recent memory will hopefully be forgotten this Friday night at UFC Boston (UFC on ESPN 6). Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez will meet for the second time in less than a month on the ESPN card. There, they get a chance for a do-over after their original meeting, which topped UFC Mexico City in September, ended with an eye poke just fifteen seconds into the fight.
Stephens was rendered unable to continue. The crowd in Mexico, no doubt a few too many beers into the night, pelted the octagon with cups, garbage, and anything they could get their hands on. The official result was a no contest.
The UFC wisely jumped on the chance to book a rematch just weeks out at UFC on ESPN 6. And despite the disappointing finish to their first fight, gearing up for the rematch has “felt great,” Stephens told media outlets including Cageside Press Wednesday.
“Coming here to a great American state — here in Boston, it’s a little bit more rowdy. Now we’re on my soil. Everything’s great,” he continued, clearly ready to go with the fight just days away. Coming back to America, getting to train with his coaches and drive his own car, felt like getting out of jail, said Stephens. “Everything’s brand new. I feel great man, we’re here to run it back, bring a banger to Boston. I feel incredible.”
There are certainly some positives in being back in the U.S. For starters, “what if I’d have knocked him out in Mexico? You saw how they treated me there. Probably [would’ve] killed me,” he pointed out. “It’s all good though. It’s a great thing. It’s going to make it that much better when I put him on the canvas and he’s staring up at the lights asking ‘what happened?’ and I’m celebrating the win.”
While it’s a quick turnaround, Stephens actually prefers things this way. “Sh*t man, I knocked out Doo-Ho Choi, two days later they called me an I go knock out [Josh] Emmett. This is going to be a little bit more vicious. I’m lighter, I’m healthy, I’m in shape. I love staying active. I think a lot of people forget about that.”
“A lot of people duck and dodge me along the way, so it’s hard for me to get fights,” he continued. “Fighting twice a year f*cking sucks. I make enough money to provide for myself, but I’d love to fight three, four times a year. A personal goal of mine is to knock out Yair.”
If that goal is met, and he comes out of the fight healthy, Stephens added, “I’ll look to be next in line if Zombie or Ortega drops off [at UFC Busan in December]. You bet your ass I’ll fight one or two more times by the end of the year if it’s possible.”
Watch the full UFC Boston media day press scrum with Jeremy Stephens above! UFC Boston (UFC on ESPN 6) takes place Friday, October 18 at the TD Garden in Boston, MA.