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Tag: Jeremy Stephens

Exclusive Interview: Jeremy Stephens


(Stephens works for a guillotine against Spencer Fisher at the TUF 7 Finale.)

On Saturday night, Des Moines, Iowa’s Jeremy Stephens will step in to the Octagon to take the place of his friend and training partner, Hermes Franca, in a main event bout against Joe Lauzon.  Things got personal between Franca and Lauzon in an internet forum feud, so it seems only fitting that a friend of Franca be the one to replace him in an attempt to win bragging rights for his side.

In our exclusive interview Stephens talks about what this fight means, how it will be won, and what’s next for the “Lil’ Heathen” in the UFC.

CagePotato.com: You’re stepping in for Hermes Franca on somewhat short notice, but you were training with him to help him prepare for Lauzon, right?

Yeah.  I was down in South Beach training with him, and in Ft. Lauderdale, as well.  I travel a lot to train.

How did you guys get hooked up?  And is that why the UFC asked you to step in for him, because you guys were training partners?

No, we have the same manager.  My manager, when he mentioned that he had Hermes, I said, ‘He’s a great fighter.  I’d love to train with him.’  And when he told Hermes that he had signed me, Hermes said he had a fight coming up and he was going out to San Diego to train and since I had a fight coming up too we connected out there and started training together.  

But when he got hurt I actually called up my manager, Reed Wallace, and requested the fight with Joe Lauzon.

Did it have anything to do with the little feud that erupted between Joe and Hermes on the UG?

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“Lil’ Heathen” in For Franca at UFC Fight Night 17


(Watch out for the uppercut, Joe)

Give the UFC this much, they don’t wait until the last minute to secure a replacement when someone goes down with an injury.  Earlier today we told you about Hermes Franca pulling out of his main event bout with Joe Lauzon and then starting a bizarre internet rivalry.  This afternoon UFC.com announced that Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens would be taking Franca’s place on Feb. 7.

You might remember Stephens as the guy who was on his way to losing a decision against Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 91 before he unfurled a murderous uppercut in the third round that knocked Dos Anjos out cold (see above).  It was an exciting finish that made us remember him and the totally sweet nickname "Lil’ Heathen" (even though it rhymes with his last name and we kind of hate that), but Stephens vs. Lauzon still feels like exactly what it is: a replacement bout.

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Efrain Escudero vs. Jeremy Stephens in April?

Efrain Escudero UFC MMA

Multiple sources are reporting that TUF 8 lightweight winner (and CagePotato guest blogger) Efrain Escudero will take on Jeremy Stephens in an April UFC event. Escudero defeated Phillipe Nover via unanimous decision at last month’s TUF 8 finale, after submitting Ido Pariente, Shane Nelson, and Junie Browning on the show. His pro record currently stands at 11-0, with nine of his wins coming by submission within the first two rounds.

Stephens (14-3, 3-2 UFC) is coming off his monstrous knockout of Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 91 in November. Contrasting with Escudero’s grappling-oriented style, Stephens has taken out most of his opponents with striking, picking up 10 wins via KO/TKO along the way. Still, if Escudero can control Stephens with his wrestling like he did to Nover, Lil Heathen’s punching power won’t be as much of an issue. Could be a great first post-TUF test for Double-E.

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Hong Man Choi: Korean Superweapon?

HMC
(HMC: Sexual Napalm.)

Hey, how’s your news?

— Hong Man Choi is scheduled to report for mandatory Korean army service next Monday, which may take him out of fight competition for three years. Apparently, his size prohibits him from being a regular soldier, so he’ll be stuck writing parking tickets and working the Xerox machine at a district office. Or so they want you to think!

— A match between UFC lightweights Spencer Fisher (20-4, 5-3 UFC) and Jeremy Stephens (13-2, 2-1 UFC) has been booked for the Ultimate Fighter 7 finale (June 21st, Las Vegas). Fisher most recently dropped a decision to Frankie Edgar at UFC 78, while Stephens has won his lost two UFC bouts against Diego Saraiva and Cole Miller. This could be the fourth match on the TUF 7 finale card that doesn’t include the show’s castmembers, after the Diego Sanchez/Luigi Fioravanti headlining bout and rumored matches between Josh Burkman and Dustin Hazelett, and Marvin Eastman vs. Drew McFedries. Could this be an early signal that many of the show’s finalists didn’t turn out to be worthy of getting a spot on the finale show?

— WEC bantamweight prospect Manny Tapia (10-0-1) injured his knee during training, and has been forced to pull out of his June 1st title bout against champion Miguel Torres (32-1). Yoshiro Maeda (23-4-2) has reportedly agreed to fill in, and will challenge Torres for the belt. Maeda is a veteran of Pancrase and DEEP, and was Pacrase’s first featherweight champion.

— Former UFC middleweight Terry Martin won his professional boxing debut on Saturday, taking out Ricardo Upchurch by TKO in just 40 seconds; with the loss, Upchurch’s pro record drops to 0-2. Roy Jones Jr., you’re next.

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