Looking back on his loss to Thiago Tavares at UFC 142 this past January, Sam Stout is quick to point out what went wrong in the fight.
“I think I need to come out and be busier and not take such a slow pace and wait so much,” he said. “I just need to go out there, stay relaxed and start right from the beginning. I think I just came on a little too late in that fight.”
While being more aggressive could be a big factor in his return this Friday at UFC on FX 4, Stout also feels that shoring up his corner for the event will be a big step forward as well.
“That last one was my first one without Sean Tompkins in my corner, so my mind was a little bit all over the place on that one, I think,” said Stout. “I’m in a lot better place mentally for this one.
“A lot of it was just getting that first one out of the way and just realizing I can still do it. It’s definitely a lot tougher, but I can look within myself and find that strength that I’ve always had and that’s always been there. On top of that, I have an experienced corner man with me for this one in Mark DellaGrotte. That gives me a lot of confidence that I got from Sean, having an experienced corner man in there to tell me what I need to do during and in between rounds. I feel good about this one.”
Stout’s familiarity with his opponent Friday night, Spencer Fisher, could be the final piece of the puzzle that helps get him back on track.
“We’ve fought twice before and this is the rubber match, so I know what it’s like to be in there with him,” said Stout. “He’s got very fast hands, pushes a very aggressive pace and moves forward a lot. The last time we fought was five years ago and I think he was kind of at this best at that point, and has kind of slowed down a little bit; while I’m bigger, stronger, faster and better (than I was then).
“I think physically I’m going to be a lot more imposing than him, and I’m going to wear him down and beat him up.”
While some may put past collisions behind them in prep for an upcoming fight, Stout feels the best way to ensure he’ll be successful is to not take for granted what he’s learned from facing Fisher twice before.
“I’ve studied those two fights and some of his most recent fights, and there’s definitely things that I’ve taken from those that I’m going to try to implement in my game plan,” he said. “I definitely don’t put them behind me and not think about them. I think they’re an indicator of what I need to do differently or what I did right.”
Stout told MMAWeekly.com that in such a competitive division, it’s not going to be enough for him just to win, but to stand out doing so, that will get him back in the title picture in the near future.
“There’s such a small margin between the top 155er and the number 20 ranked fighter that hopefully when you get up close to the top of the heap, you can have a couple of impressive fights and be right in title contention,” he said.
“It’s definitely not only whether or not you win or lose, it’s how you win or lose. I think a very decisive, impressive win will sometimes get you further than two just regular, close wins. One big win can really springboard you to the top, so I definitely want to go win this one with a big exclamation point.”