by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
It could be easy for naysayers to have written off former Ultimate Fighter 5 cast member Noah Thomas as just a reality flash in the pan.
After being infamously ousted from the show due to a brawl with Marlon Sims, Thomas disappeared from the MMA scene for over a year, leading some to speculate whether or not he’d ever work his way back from the hole he had seemingly placed himself in.
In June of last year, they got their answer as Thomas made his return to fighting with the first of two victories in 2008, running his current winning streak to six in a row, proving he’s more than the sum of a couple of television episodes in the process.
Yet, despite his successful re-emergence, Thomas is still critical of his output last year.
“It was kind of 50/50,” he explained. “I had an injury for over half the year. I came back against a former wrestling partner from high school and was pretty rusty.
“The second fight I went up to Montreal, Canada, for TKO to fight for their 135-pound championship and I took him out pretty fast. Shortly thereafter Strikebox was formed and with TKO no longer a promotion I was traded to XMMA.”
Even with the ups and downs he experienced, he has great anticipation for this coming year.
“I think it’s awesome (to be fighting for XMMA) and I’m excited about going back up to Canada,” exclaimed Thomas. “I’m getting off to a quick start this year for Ring of Fire, fighting a guy out of Matt Hughes’ camp and I’m looking really forward to it.”
Over the last couple of years he has placed greater emphasis on being tactical and using finesse rather than his brute strength as he had earlier in his career.
“Fighters can’t just worry about me taking them down, punching them, or submitting them, they’ve got to worry about every single facet of the game, which makes me a more dangerous fighter,” he explained.
At Ring of Fire this Saturday night in Broomfield, Colorado, Thomas was originally supposed to challenge Joe Doherty for the promotion’s 135-pound title, but will instead now face a late replacement fighter with the belt still on the line.
“Justin Robbins is a tough guy and he comes to fight,” commented Thomas of his new opponent. “It’s going to be five five-minute rounds, and taking the fight on short notice at an altitude he’s not used to makes for some very interesting problems for him.
“I don’t think he’s going to be able to out-wrestle me or out-grapple me, I don’t think he’ll be able to stand with me. He’s got a hard attitude where he doesn’t like to quit, and I have the same, so it should make for a good fight.”
Not only is Thomas looking to add another belt to his collection and keep his winning streak alive, he seeks to use this fight to help springboard him towards the top competition in the weight class.
“I’m looking forward to fighting in XMMA, but if I win this fight I feel I deserve a shot at the WEC or any other promotion that are building the 135ers,” he said. “I seriously don’t think there’s anyone bigger, stronger or tougher than me in the 135-pound division.
“I think that (WEC champ) Miguel Torres is tough and really good, and could pose a lot of trouble for me, but at the same time, I feel I could do the same to him. I just want the best at 135. As big as I am and as aggressive as I am, I think I could pose a big threat to anyone.”
Having worked his way back from infamy to respectability, Thomas now has his sights set on taking the next step up the ladder and make himself a fighter others aspire themselves to.
“I want to thank my sponsors: Jitz, Tapout, Roderic Clothing, PerformanceMMA.com, 5280 Fight Gear, and Mix 1,” he concluded. “I want to thank my training partners, my coach and everyone for being a lot of help.
“It’s a stacked card and I hope everyone comes out. We’re going to showcase our skills and show you why Ring of Fire is number one in Colorado and a top ten organization in the world.”
ROF 135 LB CHAMPIONSHIP
-Noah Thomas vs. Justin Robbins
ROF 170 LB YOUNG GUN CHAMPIONSHIP
-Brandon Thatch vs. Mike Arrant
ROF 135 LB WOMENS YOUNG GUN CHAMPIONSHIP
-Cat Albert vs. Angela Samaro
ROF 145 LB YOUNG GUN CHAMPIONSHIP
-Tyler Toner vs. Jamie Schmidt
-Justin Salas vs. Mike Maestas
-Brendan Schaub vs. Alex Rozman
-Brian Wood vs. Joe Kelso
-Sam Rauch vs. Mike Riggs
-Ken Kreuscher vs. TBA
-Ramico Blackmon vs. Cody Frederickson
-Chris Williamson vs. Chris Holland
-Matt Simms vs. Dan Craft
-JJ Mondragon vs. Frank Baca