For most UFC fighters, losing three out of your last four fights is never a good thing for job security. However, Joe Stevenson wants to scrap against the world’s best and, naturally, losses come along with that. More importantly, championship experience and motivation come with it as well.
UFC fans last saw Stevenson getting thoroughly dominated by Diego Sanchez at UFC 95 earlier this year. Before that, “Joe Daddy” was whooped in a lightweight top contender bout against Kenny Florian at UFC 91.
Although their tango didn’t go past the first round, Florian outclassed Stevenson in every aspect of the game, ultimately catching him in a rear-naked choke 4:03 into the fight.
“Honestly, coming off of two losses in a row really makes you think,” Stevenson told UFC.com. “You think, ‘I’ve got to do something different, otherwise you’re just going to be stagnant.’ You can’t be stagnant in this game. You’re not reinventing yourself if people are catching up to what you’re doing. I think coming to New Mexico was the best thing.”
In perhaps his best career move ever, Stevenson decided to jump on Jackson Submission Fighting’s red-hot bandwagon. Stevenson admits that Greg Jackson, MMA guru and trainer to many of the world’s best mixed martial artists, has taken his game to an entirely new level.
“With Diego, I think I just went out there and lost track of the fact that it’s an MMA fight, and I wanted to throw down and bang with him,” Stevenson said of his unsophisticated game planning. “Now, luckily having trained with Jackson, if Plan A doesn’t work, you go to Plan B, and in Plan B doesn’t work, you go to Plan C.”
Stevenson will be taking his refined skills into the cage this Saturday to face a talented Nate Diaz at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale inside the Palms Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I see a man that is very dangerous the whole time, not just at one point,” Stevenson says of his opponent. “Sometimes people think that they’ve got him in trouble and that’s when he attacks. He’s the most dangerous when you think he’s at his weakest. And that’s something I’m not going to let happen to me.”
What Joe Daddy definitely doesn’t want is to start looking for another job, as he is well aware that three consecutive losses could very well have his head on the chopping block.
“This fight’s everything,” Stevenson passionately said. “Every fight in front of me is everything, though. I never go in half-heartedly. The sense of urgency is a little bit more, but honestly whatever happens happens, God’s will will be done.”