Ninth-ranked featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens spoiled former bantamweight champion Renan Barao‘s 145-pound UFC debut on Sunday in Las Vegas. After defeating the former bantamweight champ, “Lil’ Heathen” told the media at the UFC Fight Night 88 post-fight press conference that he’d be more than happy to step in if Frankie Edgar or Jose Aldo pulls out of their interim featherweight title fight at UFC 200.
“My goal is to stay healthy. If Jose Aldo or Frankie Edgar drop out of UFC 200, I would happily fill that spot. I’m going to continue to train, train hard. I’m healthy. I could fight again right now, so that’s my goal, and that’s my plan. I’m going to be dialed in waiting for anybody to drop out.”
The 23-fight UFC veteran believes he’s always in the title shot discussion in the 145-pound weight class. He’s 5-3 since debuting in the division in 2013, but his three losses have come by way of decision to highly ranked fighters.
“I’m always in the mix. I feel like I can knock anybody out in the world. I’ve been proven to take out the top guys time and time again,” he said. “I’ve had a few bumps where I’ve been set back, but it’s been stuff like weird decisions, or people running, or something like that. Then, boom, I’m right back in the mix.”
UFC 200 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 9. If needed, Stephens plans on being ready.