by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
The last time Noah Thomas was involved in a Zuffa production, he was being kicked off the fifth season of UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” for getting into a brawl with fellow castmate Marlon Sims.
Two years later, Thomas is getting his shot at redemption as he steps in for an injured Eddie Wineland to face Frank Gomez at WEC 41 on June 7 in Sacramento, Calif.
“I’m real excited, and I’m glad that Dana White, Zuffa and the WEC chose to give me an opportunity like this,” Thomas told MMAWeekly about stepping in on short notice to face Gomez.
The fight will be Thomas’ first since January, after having his previously signed Bellator FC debut constantly delayed.
“We were a couple weeks out from the fight with the Bellator promotion, and just some stuff with the Montreal (Athletic) Commission changed, so we got it rescheduled,” said Thomas of the situation.
“The WEC called and asked if we could fill that spot, and of course the answer was yes that we would fill that spot.”
Currently it is not known if Thomas will get his Bellator fight or remain with the WEC after June 7.
“As of right now, if the WEC wants to keep me, I’ll stay with them,” he commented. “If that doesn’t happen, I’ll reconsider my options at that time. But as of right now, I want to stay in the WEC as long as possible.”
Even though the possibility is high that the WEC would retain Thomas’ services for the ever-expanding 135-pound division, he is treating this fight as a one-shot audition for future work.
“That’s the way I’m taking it – as a one-fight deal – which means I need to perform and prove I have the skills to be in there,” he stated.
Turning his attention to Frank Gomez, Thomas feels the match-up could end up being close, with both fighters sharing similar skill sets.
“I think we accent each other really well,” he said. “He likes to stand and bang, and is a technical wrestler. I like to stand and bang, and I’m a decent wrestler. We both have good jiu-jitsu and both of us have been preparing for a good fight.
“I think he’s going to come ready, and I’ll be ready at the same time.”
Thomas intends to put all his cards on the table for June 7 and not hold anything back.
“I don’t want to overlook Frankie – a fool would do that – and I’m expecting a three-round fight, as I always do,” he stated. “I feel he expects the same, so we’ll both go in there with our best foot forward and give it our all.”
After having his big shot taken away by an act of bad judgment, Thomas feels this is an opportunity to make good for Zuffa and find a home in the WEC’s bantamweight division.
“I want to thank Tapout, Stroker Industries, Arizona Fight Wear, Performance MMA, MMAStop.ca, Jitz, 591 Fight Gear and 5280 Fighter,” he closed out. “I want to thank all the guys at my gym for helping me out, my coach Adam Martinez, and the WEC for giving me redemption and another go.
“I think both of us are going to trade some leather, and work diligently on the ground if it ends up there. It’s definitely going to be one for the books and a highlight (of the night). We’re going to go out there and give the fans what they want.”