by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Following a loss to Josh Neer in April 2008, veteran fighter Din Thomas exited the UFC and soon announced his move to the ever-growing featherweight division. Since that time, the former “Ultimate Fighter” participant has gone 2-0 while also signing a new deal to fight under the Affliction banner starting in 2009.
Thomas picked up his most recent win at Roy Jones Jr.’s “March Badness” card last weekend where he defeated former Strikeforce lightweight Gabe Lemley with a devastating knee strike knockout in the first round.
The move to 145 pounds seems to fit Thomas, who enjoys not giving up as much size as he was forced to when competing against lightweights in the past.
“I feel really good at 145 now and the best part about it is the guys I’m fighting are smaller, so I think that is the real key for me,” said Thomas. “When I fought Josh Neer, I just told myself I can’t keep fighting these bigger guys. I’m training with the 155-pounders on my team and these guys are just a little too big for me.”
After leaving the UFC, most believed he would land with Zuffa’s other promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting, which boasts an impressive list of featherweights, but the Florida based fighter said the call never came.
“I felt like Vincent Chase on the last couple episodes of ‘Entourage.’ People just didn’t want to see me and I was like ‘dang, nobody really wants to give me a deal’ and nobody was really looking out,” Thomas commented. “So Affliction came along and they reached out and I was like ‘alright, I appreciate it.’ So I ended up signing with them.”
Focused on making the featherweight division take notice, Thomas is now waiting for Affliction to make the call to put him in his first fight for that promotion, and he’s ready to take on any opponent willing to step in the ring with him.
“When Affliction calls me, when they call me with an opponent, as long as I’m 100% healthy, I’m going to be in there,” he said. “It really don’t even matter who the opponent is. Anybody. I’m going to be in there and see if I can’t rack up another W, knock somebody’s teeth in the back of their throat.”
Thomas will head back into training with his teammates at American Top Team while waiting for his next bout in 2009.