14 Years Later, Jeremy Stephens Exits UFC After 34 Fights

Jeremy Stephens, UFC
Jeremy Stephens, UFC Vegas 31 weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

It was a lengthy, entertaining run for Jeremy Stephens in the UFC — but it appears to have come to a close.

UFC Roster Watch, an automated, script-based service that monitors changes to the UFC’s roster of fighters, reported Thursday that Stephens had been removed from the UFC’s database of active fighters.

Stephens reportedly fought out his most recent contract during his July match-up with Mateusz Gamrot. The longtime featherweight and lightweight came up short against the Polish champ; his deal has not been renewed.

Stephens first joined the promotion in 2007, in a one-off that saw him submitted by Din Thomas. After a single fight outside the organization, he returned later that same year, winning his next two fights, and kicking off a journey that would last 14 years.

“Lil Heathen” would go on to defeat names like Rafael dos Anjos, Sam Stout, Gilbert Melendez, Renan Barao, Doo-Ho Choi, and Josh Emmett. With 19 of his 28 pro wins coming by KO or TKO, he quickly earned a reputation as one of the hardest-hitting fighters in the 145 and 155lb waters.

The fighter born in Des Moines, Iowa reached a new level of stardom when he got into a verbal spat with Conor McGregor in a 2016 press conference promoting UFC 205. That back-and-forth led to the infamous “who the fook is that guy?” line from McGregor. But MMA purists had long known who Stephens was, and it felt as if he’d be one of the select few to close out a lengthy career with the company.

Apparently not. Stephens began a slump in 2018 that resulted in five straight losses, and one no contest mixed in — in his first fight with Yair Rodriguez, the result of an accidental eye poke that left Stephens unable to continue. Last year, the fighter proved that age had not dampened his temper any; during a face-off with Drakkar Klose ahead of UFC on ESPN 22, Stephens shoved his opponent so hard it led to Klose suffering a spinal injury.

The bout was cancelled; Stephens would fight just once more, against Gamrot, to close out his UFC career. He ends his run with the promotion at 34 fights: 15 wins, 18 losses, and one no contest.