Exciting finishes are nothing new to Colorado welterweight Brandon “Ruckus” Thatch. So when he defeated Chidi Njokuani in just under a minute at the Aug. 20 edition of Ring of Fire, it was business as usual.
Following a sequence where Thatch caught one of Njokuani’s kicks and landed a punch simultaneously, things moved quickly from there.
“I think that left hook rocked him more than I expected, so when we hit the ground it was easy for me to roll him over and ground and pound him from there,” said Thatch. “He rolled towards the fence and covered up in the fetal position.
“I remember thinking that if he’s not going to get up, I’m going to throw. I landed a good six or seven shots and I remember the ref telling him that he had to fight back or he was going to stop the fight. Once he started saying that, I really turned it on and made sure the ref had no choice but to stop it.”
Shortly after the fight was called, Njokuani began complaining that it was an early stoppage. Thatch, however, thinks his opponent knew it was over and only began to complain after his team did.
“As soon as he saw his corner and brother and coach getting all hurt, that’s when I think he was starting to act upset too, but I don’t think he was upset with the stoppage,” said Thatch. “It could have been either (stopped due to) unanswered shots or him being unconscious; either way it was going down.”
With the win, Thatch raised his record to 5-1 with finishes in the first round of his last four fights, prompting people to speculate whether his next step is up to the top level. Thatch feels, however, that while he does have skills to take him to the next level, he’s not going to let that derail what is in front of him.
“I’ve been asked a lot about what I expect out of the next couple of fights, and when I have a fight, I just make sure I concentrate on that one fight,” he said. “I’m not looking too far ahead of myself. If I make an impressive performance in those shows, my future will handle itself.
“I don’t see why I shouldn’t be on a bigger show like Strikeforce or the UFC in the near future. I have an impressive record and ran through some opponents that I thought were pretty formidable. I’m lucky enough where I have the physical ability and a little bit of character to me. I have some flash and some flavor to me, so I don’t see why I wouldn’t be marketable. I have an amazing fan base in Colorado that keeps getting better with every show and I feel like I could carry that with me into a bigger show.”
For the immediate future, Thatch will take some time off to heal from a recent victory. When that’s run its course, he’ll begin to focus on what’s next.
“I had a broken thumb going into that fight, so I want to let that heal, and as soon as that’s good to go, I’m ready,” he said. “I’m going to keep my cardio up and make sure I’m doing the right things to make sure that once things are back to normal, I’ll be there as soon as possible.
“I want to strike while it’s hot – and right now I’m on fire – mentally as well as physically. I’ve got a lot of drive right now, and I want to capitalize on it.”
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