by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Sometimes the first impression we make is not the one we want to. Such is the case for Noah “The Red” Thomas.
Upon redeeming himself for a controversial stint on The Ultimate Fighter 5 by capturing the TKO 135-pound title in 2008, Thomas was given an opportunity to shine even brighter with an offer to fight in the WEC earlier this year.
Things did not go to his liking.
A loss to Frankie Gomez at WEC 41 in June spoiled Thomas’ coming out party, and now he is eager to return to action and once again redeem himself and make a new impression on the MMA landscape reflective of his true self and skill set.
“I feel a little bit better this time around,” Thomas told MMAWeekly.com heading into WEC 43 on Oct. 10. “I had a lot more time to prepare for this fight, rather than the last one. It’s still short notice, but it is a little bit longer than the last one, so I’m pretty excited.”
The task he faces in his WEC return is not an easy one, as he takes on Scott Jorgensen, the only man to defeat Thomas’ recent nemesis, Frankie Gomez.
“I’m really, really looking forward to going in there and getting a win,” stated Thomas. “I know Scott is looking for the same thing – if you’re a fighter you’re going to be looking for that.
“Scott has a lot of good tools, and so do I. It will be a good fight and I really, really want to get that W.”
Stepping in for Rafael Rebello, he knows he has a task ahead of him in Jorgensen, a former three-time Pac-10 collegiate wrestling champion.
“He’s a tough guy, is very explosive and comes forward, but he takes a lot of fights to decision though,” commented Thomas. “I can see it going to a decision unless I can get him with something or knock him out.
“He’s never been knocked out, so I don’t know if that can happen, but you never know. In this game anybody can be knocked out.”
As the 135-pound division continues to become more prominent, talk shifted towards the future of the WEC, which could continue to be its own entity, or be folded into its parent company, the UFC.
In Thomas’ opinion, he prefers the two companies to remain as they are, but sees no reason why the UFC cannot help out the WEC from time to time.
“What I think they should do is have a teaser for people who order the (UFC) pay-per-views, and host a (WEC) fight like Jose Aldo versus Mike Brown on a pay-per-view event,” he stated. “Or when Urijah Faber comes back, have him on a pay-per-view event against a name opponent. It will introduce new people to the WEC.
“I really think that the WEC can do good things, and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Right now I think the WEC is an excellent promotion, so don’t mess with it.”
Either way, Thomas wishes to get back on the winning track and start working his way up the 135-pound ladder towards an eventual title shot.
“I’m like every other fighter, I’m still learning and evolving, but I feel I can match up with anyone on a good day,” he said. “I want to get in there and prove that. Scott Jorgensen is the first step towards redemption.
“I’m not saying that Scott’s a stepping stone at all. I’m just saying that we accent each other very nicely and it’s going to be a good fight that’s going to increase both our stock.”
Thomas has made the most of a second chance before, and he looks to do so again in San Antonio, Texas, at WEC 43.
“I want to thank my sponsors, Tri-Costa, Stroker Industries, Fight Magazine, MMAJacked, MMAFitnessAndTraining.com, Performance MMA, Venom and Tapout; my manager Sven Bean, and all the guys at Infinite Mixed Martial Arts,” he concluded. “This is a big card and I’m really looking forward to the main event, it should be a really, really good fight.
“I hope everybody comes down and watches it and welcomes me back to the WEC. I won’t fail to impress this time.”