Sober and ‘stronger than ever’, Jeremy Stephens predicts ‘f*cking nasty’ win vs. Mateusz Gamrot

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – One of the longest-tenured fighters on the UFC roster, Jeremy Stephens has never felt better than he does now.

As he prepares for his 24th promotional appearance, which takes place July 17 at UFC on ESPN 26 against Mateusz Gamrot, Stephens (28-18 MMA, 15-17 UFC) partook in another sober training camp – a way he had prepared for his canceled Drakkar Klose bout earlier this year.

“I’m still sober to this day and still digging within myself,” Stephens told MMA Junkie on Thursday. “Like I said, I didn’t move camps. I didn’t go anywhere. I just I went within my own mind, my own soul, part of like a healing process. Everything I was running from (and) insecurities as a man, like I’m facing it. I’m having these experiences. I’m still f*cking prime. I still feel like I’m right in my prime. I’m stronger than ever.

“… I just feel in a really good place mentally, physically. I feel like I’m even looking better. The no alcohol, it’s opened up a lot of things for me. I’ve really faced my demons. I’ve sat. I’ve been alone. I’m not scared to be alone no more. I really sat with myself and dealt with a lot of fears facing those things and more mental. It’s just really helped ripple effect the outside of my life. Everything’s just raw in abundance. I’m happier. I’m more energized. In the room, I’m more able to express myself, open up to people, help people outward focus. All this work that I’m doing has really ripple effected into abundance of everything that I’ve really set my heart out to do. There’s no f*cking distractions. It’s just all enlightenment to myself.”

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Stephens, 35, has remained competitive against the division’s elite, going the distance with top contenders Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov before a May 2020 knockout loss to Calvin Kattar. Though he’s put up valiant efforts, he’s hungry for a win – especially as his back could be up against the wall.

“Your ass is always on the line when you sign with the UFC, bro,” Stephens said. “That’s the thing that I’m not scared of. I welcome that sh*t. I love when my ass is on the line. Because every time you ever see my ass really on the line, I’ve had the f*cking most beautiful performances like the Dennis Bermudez (fight), the f*cking highlights. … You know when you sign that dotted line, you can get knocked out. You can get your arm broken. You can get f*cking cut from the UFC. Your ass is always on the line. That’s why this game is around. That’s why I’m still around because I’m able to accept that darkness, that ugly side, and smile and show people that doesn’t have to be the outcome.”

His opponent Gamrot (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is a tough out, as proven by his record of only one loss in 19 professional outings. A former KSW champion, Gamrot is someone Stephens really respects – but also someone he plans to make a highlight out of.

“I’m going to fu*king prove you wrong and I’m going to do it very nasty-like with a highlight reel KO with a shin upside your head, a knee upside your head, an uppercut from hell,” Stephens said. “Then, boom, everybody’s talking about, ‘Oh man. He’s back in the mix, back in the mix.’ That’s where I’m at home by myself playing Linkin Park just jumping around my f*cking house. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, baby.’

“I’m just visualizing the win. I’ve already won. I’ve already felt it and I just can’t wait to go in there and get that win because it just gives me goosebumps just talking about it so I know what’s going to happen. … You’re going to see something f*cking nasty and you’re going to jump up off your couch and be like that motherf*cker said he was going to do it and he did it.”

UFC on ESPN 26 takes place July 17 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The entire card airs on ESPN/ESPN+.

Check out MMA Junkie’s full interview with Jeremy Stephens below:

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