Tomorrow night will mark the UFC’s third trip to Montreal when they present “UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun 2“. Sam Stout has been on the previous two cards and will once again be featured on this card. During the last trip to the Bell Center, Stout and Matt Wiman lit the crowd on fire with a back and forth three round affair that was deemed worthy of a Fight of the Night bonus.
This time things are beginning to get much more serious for Stout as he is coming off what may be his biggest win of his career over Joe Lauzon at UFC 108. While the London, Ontario native has always been counted on to give a great performance, he has never been viewed as a big threat in the UFC lightweight division.
Heavy recently had an opportunity to speak with Stout about his upcoming bout with Jeremy Stephens and where he sees himself among the UFC’s lightweight elite.
Heavy MMA: How are you feeling going into this bout with Jeremy Stephens?
Sam Stout: Physically I feel great. I have had a great training camp and I have taken this last week to rest up a bit while I prepare for the weight cut. I feel really good right now, I feel like I am ready to go.
Heavy MMA: Your last two fights have been awarded the Fight of the Night bonus giving you a total of four. Do you have any special plans in store to earn your fifth bonus check?
Sam Stout: My goal from the onset is to go out and put on the most exciting performance that I can. I always go in there with the mindset that I am going to take it to my opponent. I am not the type of fighter who will sit back and fight defensively. Stephens is a good match-up for me and this fight has the potential to wind up as Fight of the Night.
Heavy MMA: This will be your third fight in front of the Montreal fans do you get an added adrenaline rush fighting here?
Sam Stout: It certainly gives me an extra sense of confidence when you have an arena full of people chanting your name. It is such an awesome feeling and it is nice to have the fans support behind me.
Heavy MMA: Hometown fans aside, how would you classify the difference between the Canadian fans and the fans from the United States?
Sam Stout: I don’t know what it is, but the Canadian fans are just so passionate about the sport. Here we are two days out before the fight and the lobby of the hotel is packed with fans looking for autographs! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the sport here was recently legalized or they just really love the sport that much, but these fans are rabid! They really treat us well here in Montreal.
Heavy MMA: What would you say is Stephens’ biggest strength?
Sam Stout: Without a doubt it is his power. He throws those big bombs and if they land flush you are going to find yourself in trouble. For the most part there aren’t a lot of fighters who would still be standing upright after getting hit with one of his punches square on the jaw.
Heavy MMA: What do you believe to be his biggest weakness?
Sam Stout: I believe his biggest weakness goes right alongside his biggest strength. He happens to leave himself wide open when he throws his power shots. That is where I will look for an opportunity to find an opening and land some power shots of my own. I am also more of a technical striker as you will never see me leave myself wide open like he does. If I’m throwing straight punches and he is throwing those big looping punches mine should find a home first. The shortest way to get to a destination is a straight line!
Heavy MMA: Do you think we will ever get to see a rubber match between you and Spencer Fisher?
Sam Stout: That is a question that I get asked at least once a week. I find it amazing considering the second fight was almost three years ago! It would make sense and I would certainly be interested in fighting him again. The first two bouts both made the top 100 UFC fights of all time.
Heavy MMA: How many more wins do you believe it will take before you are considered a top contender for the UFC lightweight title?
Sam Stout: That’s another question I have been asked a lot as of late. I think it comes down to getting more quality wins, more decisive wins. If I come out and win a close decision as opposed to putting on performances similar to the one I put on against Joe Lauzon, I will make some noise. I need to continue on making big improvements in my overall game. It’s a matter of quality over quantity in my opinion.
Heavy MMA: What are some of the improvements you feel are necessary to make yourself an overall better fighter?
Sam Stout: To continue to work on my all-around game. I have been working on my wrestling and jiu-jitsu a lot. If I can make my opponent worry about how I can beat them in different areas it keeps them guessing and makes me a much more difficult opponent to deal with.
Heavy MMA: How big of a star is Georges St. Pierre in Canada?
Sam Stout: He is huge here in Canada, but then again I think he has become a star that is recognized all over the world. He recently signed endorsement deals with Gatorade and Under Armour which will only add to his visibility.
Heavy MMA: Where are you currently training right now?
Sam Stout: When I am in Canada I train at the Adrenaline Training center. Mark Hominick, Chris Horodecki and I own the gym. When I am in Las Vegas I stay with Shawn Tompkins who is my brother-in-law and my coach. We train together at the Tapout Training Center. We have a great group of hungry fighters who are always there for one another. Tompkins has really become a great leader and has developed a great sense of family in the gym.
Heavy MMA: Care to make a prediction of how this fight ends?
Sam Stout: I’m not one to make predictions. I can predict that this will be an exciting fight and I am going to do my best to put on another exciting performance.
Follow @HeavyMMA for more news and results from UFC 113 in Montreal this weekend