Joe “Daddy” Stevenson has proven his heart and toughness time and again during his 44-fight MMA career, but is generally thought of as an affable competitor.
That has changed with a drop in weight prompted by three consecutive losses in the lightweight division; Stevenson is preparing to make his featherweight debut against Javier Vasquez this Sunday at UFC Live: Marquardt vs. Story and between the weight cut, the losses and a less-than-flattering photoshop campaign helmed by Vasquez, Stevenson is downright angry.
During a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Stevenson said to be on the lookout for his new-found “hatred,” which he indicated might result in serious injury to his opponent.
“I knew he was going to do that before,” Stevenson said of Vasquez’s mind games. “He trains with a lot of the same people I train with back at home. It’s something I knew he was going to try to do. But I think he messed up. Rather than being a mind game, it became personal. I really will break something if I get the chance.”
Stevenson explained that he respects his opponent’s considerable skills but is unafraid of him and has prepared himself to bring it as hard as he ever has so that he may end his losing streak and right the wrong he feels has been perpetrated by Vasquez.
“I’m not scared of his back game, I’m not scared of his rubber guard, I’m not scared of a lot,” he said. “I’ve prepared myself. I respect him everywhere. He’s got a great ground game. I know he’s worked on his hands. He can threaten you anywhere. I just make sure I’m ready for war. I’ve literally trained my butt off. I ran more, I boxed more, I’ve gone through more adversity than ever. I’m not gonna stop, not this whole fight. I’m going to go and go and go, and I’m going to have to be pulled off.”
The two men will meet this Sunday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the event will be broadcast live on the Versus network.