Joe Stevenson (31-10) recently spoke to Fanhouse at MMAFighting.com about what he expects when he steps in the cage against native Australian George Sotiropoulos at UFC 110 in Sydney.
Stevenson said, “Fighting an Australian in Sydney, obviously I don’t expect to get the biggest cheers of the night. But, hey, the fans have to do what they can do to help their guy George. That’s what home fans are supposed to do and I respect that. Is it tough getting booed? I’ve been booed before, and I’ve won over crowds that started off booing me before too.”
Stevenson has experienced a slight career resurgence as of late by earning a two fight win streak in spirited performances against Nate Diaz and Spencer Fisher, respectively. Things were not looking well for Stevenson after he challenged BJ Penn for the lightweight strap in January of 2008 and lost. After that fight Stevenson went 1-2 in the UFC with two losses in a row until he turned things around and seemingly shifted his momentum forward when he took on Nate Diaz and won.
Stevenson talked to Fanhouse about what brought about his recent turn for the better. “When you lose, you have to grow,” he said. “If I wanted to go forward, I had to make changes and going with Greg Jackson’s camp was something I needed to do if I wanted to go back to winning.”
“Joe Daddy” also spoke about getting a title shot and where he thinks he fits into the UFC lightweight title picture. “I want to keep on winning, and winning big, so the fans are like ‘Give Joe Daddy his second title shot already,” said the Californian. ” Frankie Edgar has the next title shot, but Gray Maynard is there, too, and the whole division is stacked. I need to keep on looking good and making sure the UFC notices me every time I fight.”
In a move that shows his confidence, Stevenson turned down a chance to train with current lightweight champ Bj Penn, saying, “I was asked by BJ if I wanted to train with him for this fight but, as great as it would be, I had to say no because I think I am going to be fighting him again at the end of the year.”
His soon-to-be opponent, George Sotiropoulos (11-2), is undefeated in four fights in the UFC and brought all four fights to an early finish. Stevenson will be a step up in competition for the talented Australian but Sotiropoulos should not be overlooked in this fight. “UFC 110: Nogueira Vs. Velasquez” will take place on Sunday, February 21 at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia.