It’s been nearly two years since featherweight Stephen “Big Fish” Bass suffered the only loss of his career at the Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale in December of 2011.
As Bass puts it, the time off was spent fixing nagging stomach issues and waiting for the right opportunity to return with a solid promotion behind him, which he has now found in the XFC.
“I hadn’t fought since the TUF finale because I had to have two hernias fixed,” said Bass. “Since then I’ve been in the gym waiting for something good to come up.
“Really more than anything it was finding fights that I wouldn’t end up upside down in afterwards. The local stuff, it costs me as much to train for the fight that I make for the fight, so it doesn’t make sense. The XFC is pretty well established and puts on good shows and several fights a year, so I was ready to jump right in.”
The main difference, Bass told MMAWeekly.com, between the fighter he is now and the fighter he was then comes from the peace of mind that his stomach issues won’t hamper him anymore.
“I don’t have a tearing in the wall of the lining of my stomach that could explode open at any time, so that’s really good,” he said.
Bass’ return will come at XFC 25 on Friday in Albuquerque, N.M., where he’s scheduled to take on former Bellator featherweight Farkhad Sharipov in a featured 145-pound showdown.
“He’s a tough kid, so I’m just going to have to go in and beat him up,” said Bass of Sharipov. “I’m going to hit him from the start of the first bell to the end of the last bell in every position possible. If we get somewhere, there’s going to be something coming.
“I know his style and how he punches guys then takes them down and holds them there; we’ll see how that plays out for him.”
Now that he’s found a promotion he can call home, Bass intends to stay busy over the next several years and make up for lost time.
“I’ve got another five years until I get to my 35 (year-old) cutoff and my body gets all beat up, so yeah, I’m making a big run at it,” he said. “I’m going to try fight every month until I’m 35, that’s my plan.”