Thursday, May 6, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Sam Stout wants his point to be clear.
Stout, a UFC lightweight, likes fellow fighter Jeremy Stephens. He calls Stephens a “good guy.”
Stout has run into Stephens a few times over the years at UFC events and the two have chatted, but they are in no way buddies.
“We didn’t talk a whole lot,” Stout said. “We weren’t calling each other or anything.”
In other words, Stout (15-5-1, 8 KOs) will have no mixed feelings when he beats Stephens (17-5, 13 KOs) to win his third fight in a row at UFC 113 Saturday in Montreal.
That’s exactly how Stout, a Toronto native who trains in Las Vegas at Tapout Gym, envisions it going.
“I have no ill will towards him, but this is business,” Stout said. “This is what we do. When the cage door closes and they tell us to go at it, I’m going to go at him.”
Their battle could make for the most intriguing of the night at UFC 113, which is headlined by a re-match between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua.
Stout and Stephens are both known for giving fight crowds a show. In each of Stout’s last two fights, he won Fight of the Night honors. In two of Stephens’ last four fights, he has won Knockout of the Night honors.
“I’m aware of the fact that on paper, this is a fight that is pretty exciting with how we match up stylistically,” Stout said. “We both like to stand and we both like to throw heavy punches. I’m sure it’s going to be exciting to watch.”
Although Stout is known as a hard hitter, he said Stephens’ power would make for a major challenge.
Put simply, Stephens punches hard.
“I’d go as far as to say that he’s the heaviest hitter that I’ve fought in the UFC,” Stout said. “He’s explosive with his wrestling and everything. I need to stay a step ahead of him so he can’t hit me with that power.”
To combat Stephens’ strengths, Stout said, footwork and head movement had been a focus of his training camp. Stephens is tasked with figuring out how to slow Stout’s kickboxing, which is seen as one of his foremost strengths.
“Sam Stout is the type of opponent that is going to bring out the best in me,” Stephens said in a recent video blog. “I’m real excited and real motivated to fight him. I couldn’t be happier with the opponent.”
Stout shares the same feelings. A victory over Stephens would continue his upward climb in the UFC.
Stout says he’s prepared to the best of his ability.
“I try to get better for every fight and my last fight, I think I had my best performance,” Stout said. “A lot of that had to do with how I trained for the fight, so I really tried to mimic that last training camp and do the same this time.”