Las Vegas, NV — When it came down to it, Mateusz Gamrot took barely over a minute to finish Jeremy Stephens at UFC Vegas 31 on Saturday night.
That lightweight clash had been one of the more anticipated fights on the ESPN card. But being honest about it, a lot of that was Stephens’ reputation as a fireplug. “Lil Heathen,” with the promotion since UFC 71 in 2007, always comes to fight.
As it turns out, so does Gamrot, a former KSW lightweight and featherweight champ. He converted a quick takedown into a kimura, and Stephens was forced to tap.
“I’m so happy right now. My warm-up was harder than [the] fight,” Gamrot (19-1, 1NC) told Cageside Press during Saturday’s post-fight media appearance. “But I’m so happy, I’m excited. That’s it.”
Jeremy Stephens “is a UFC legend and veteran,” he added. “For me, it was fight number three [in the promotion]. My last fight was for me, was like a warm-up. Now I needed a really good test, really tough test.”
That test came in Stephens, who he called a big opportunity, and a big jump. It’s clear he passed that test. “I think now, I deserve a top 15. I am ready. Lightweight division is very full of tough opponents, but I am ready for every single guy. Give me, and I’ll show you what I can do.”
When it comes to who, it “doesn’t matter for me,” Gamrot stated. “Every single name is a big name. This is work for Dana White and Sean Shelby. But look now, Jeremy fought with Yair Rodriguez, Zabit [Magomedsharipov], Renato Moicano, with Frankie Edgar, with Renan Barao, with Max Holloway, with Charles Oliveira.” Those fights went the distance, Gamrot pointed out, even when his opponents did get the better of Stephens. “Me, I need only one minute, and I submit this guy. I will be the champion in the future for sure, but give me time, and give me a big opportunity. Let’s do it.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 31 post-fight press scrum with Mateusz Gamrot above.