by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
One of the feature match-ups on the upcoming debut edition of the ACF in Denver, Colorado on Friday, February 24th showcases local fan favorite and rising 155lb prospect Noah “The Red” Thomas. If the name is familiar, it’s because Thomas has been impressing many over the past year with his all-out style of fighting.
Currently entering his second year of pro level fighting with a 4-2 record, after an amateur career of over 30 fights, Noah feels his rookie campaign was ultimately a successful one, even if it included bumps in the road.
“Things have gone good,” commented Thomas to MMA Weekly of his pro career. “I’ve had a couple losses, one to Enoch Wilson out of Oregon, who’s a pretty tough guy. I was dominating in the first round and made the mistake of coming in without enough cardio and going for submissions when I should have just kept hitting him. He was the only second person ever in my career of 30-40 fights to catch me in a submission.”
Noah continued, “I had a loss here to Steve Sharp, pretty game guy; probably one of the only guys whose had as many fights as I’ve had. I took him to a decision and made a lot of mistakes that night. It was lucky for him, I don’t think he should have beaten me, if I would have been on my game – as I wasn’t that night – he wouldn’t have beaten me. He’ll see that next time around. Other than that I was on a four fight winning streak, running through opponents, but Steve was a good wake-up call.”
As for his evolution as a fighter, Thomas is also pleased about how things have been going so far. “Besides making some mistakes, I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve been performing. I’m sticking to what I do best, taking guys down and beating down on them. I’m working on my hand skills, cutting off the ring, and changing angles and levels. I’m going back up to Oregon to get ready for a fight in March with Ryan Schultz and the guys from Team Quest, but until then I’m going to be getting ready here for my fight in the ACF on the 24th.”
Regarding his upcoming fight, Noah is a heavy favorite against a relative newcomer in what is going to be the ACF’s first ever show. “I’m fighting Grant Hartwig, he’s a Jits guy and a wrestler, a pretty tough guy, but I don’t think he’ll be able to beat me. I may not be bigger but I’m stronger and I have a lot more experience than him. I don’t think anybody has brought it to him the way I’m going to bring it to him. I plan on getting the win in this one to go into my fight with Josh Thomson with a 6-2 (pro) record.”
Noah’s scheduled bout against Thomson represents the most difficult challenge of Thomas’ young career. And while he will be the underdog in that fight, Noah feels he’s more than capable of pulling off the upset.
“I’m fighting Josh Thomson on Trevor Prangley’s Pride and Fury show on March 24th. Josh is considered one of the top ten guys in the world, strong stand-up skills, standard wrestler, and he trains with a lot of really, really tough guys. I’ve seen many of his fights, like everyone has, and I’m expecting him to bring it and bring it hard. It’s going to be a fast paced fight. I’m going to push the pace as fast as he is and not make the same cardio mistake I made against Enoch,” said Thomas.
Noah further commented, “It should be a real, real good fight. He’s got strong skills, but the big difference between Josh and me is, I’ve never been knocked out and Josh can get knocked out. Don’t get me wrong, he got knocked out by one of the best guys in the business, but he got knocked out. He also got rocked pretty hard against Hermes (Franca) and that’s another of the best guys in the business. And that’s why I’m fighting him, to prove that I can be one of the best guys in the business and I’m going to try hard to do that.”
As for who he’d want to get in the ring with next, Noah wasted no time in bringing up the name of a fellow high-energy fighter. “I want to fight Urijah Faber. He’s a tough kid and has fought some tough guys like Ivan Menjivar, but I really want to fight him and if I can get down to 145 I think it’d be a great fight. He doesn’t have any quit in him and neither do I, so it will be a great fight.”
When it comes to his goals for 2006, Thomas isn’t shy about stating where he’d like to be before the year is out. “I’d like to fight in the UFC if they give me an opportunity or the other big show Pride. I’ll take it whenever they give it to me, if they call me tomorrow I’ll take it. I’ve never backed down from any fight. If they asked me if I want to fight Yves Edwards in the UFC tomorrow, I’m on a plane to wherever they want me to go. Even if I lose to Josh Thomson, how many people are willing to step in here and face him? However I look at it, I have nothing to lose.”
Noah closed out the conversation by wanting to thank the people who’ve made it possible for him to get where he’s at. “I want to thank UltimateFightGear.com, Unruly Fight Gear; they’ve been great to us. All the guys from Ft. Collins Fight Factory, Reed, Derrick, Russ, and Jared, you better be on the lookout because we’re ready to make an impact on the fight world, especially here in Colorado with all the fights going on. I’d also like to thank the guys at Team Quest, Schultz and Matt Lindland, and Steve Alley for helping me get that fight.”
Thomas concluded, “This ACF fight’s going to be a war, and (in my next fight) if Josh Thomson wants to beat me he better be ready to go all 15 minutes all-out. He’s going to have to beat on me like he does his little brother. He’s not going to knock me out or submit me, so he better be ready to throw punches for 15 minutes.”