Entering year 15 in his mixed martial arts, American Top Team lightweight Din Thomas is still going strong and remains competitive, even though he never dreamed his career would take him this far.
“I can’t believe I’m still at it,” said Thomas. “I’ve never really done anything this long. To be fighting for 15 years is an accomplishment in itself. There’s a handful of guys that can say they have and I’m just proud to be involved in this game.
“At that time, no one knew where ‘No Holds Barred’ as we called it was going to go. As it evolved and progressed I didn’t think I’d still be fighting at 36. Here I am and I still feel young. I was never one to go out and be a banger and take a lot of punishment, so with my style I’ve been able to have some longevity.”
Having fought just about everywhere and done just about everything, Thomas told MMAWeekly.com that he still learns and grows, though it’s much more to supplement the style he’s used his whole career rather than to reinvent himself.
“I still learn new things, but it’s not like you can teach an old dog a lot of new tricks,” he said. “For me, I use new things to put into what I already do and already know instead of to change up my whole game and try to fight like somebody else.
“I’m always going to fight like myself and add a few things and take a few things out and just try to stay current.”
Being a veteran who has earned his spot near the top of fight cards, Thomas knows that he’s going to face serious challenges more often than not, like he will against Bellator vet Georgi Karakhanyan at Legacy FC 19 on Friday night in Dallas and live on AXS TV.
“Georgi is a really good fighter and he brings a lot to the table and is very well-rounded and reminds me a lot of me when I was young,” said Thomas. “It’s going to be a matter of whether he can impose his will on me or I can impose my will on him.
“I think we have similar styles in how well-rounded we are and I don’t think game plans are going to come into play as much as who can take advantage of opportunities when they arise. I think you’re going to see two guys who are in each other’s face the whole time banging it out.”
When asked if he feels this fight is a gauge of where he’s at now and if he should continue to compete, Thomas chooses not to carry that weight on his shoulders. Instead, he plans on going out and enjoying the fight for what it is.
“Every fight is different and there’s no extra significance to this fight than any other fight,” said Thomas. “Georgi’s a good fighter, but I’ve fought a lot of good fighters. I think the telling of where you’re at is done in the gym, because anything can happen in a fight.
“This fight is like any other fight to me. I want to go out there, put on a good show and when it’s over with we can shake hands and be friends.”