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Din Thomas - Former UFC Fighter / UFC Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2024 6:46 pm

Din Thomas - Former UFC Fighter / UFC Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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April 15, 2024 6:46 pm

Former UFC Fighter and now a UFC Analyst, Din Thomas joins Zach to recap a historic weekend at UFC 300, along with some incredible fights that are now on the horizon.


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Price and coverage match limited by state law. We just had UFC 300 come to a close. Epic few fights on the main card that did come your way this past Saturday. And we got a big announcement from Dana White at the end of UFC 300, where a paper was just slipped to him.

It's kind of a crazy way that this did happen. And he announced some fights that were going to happen at the Prudential Center for, I believe, UFC 302. And then he just gave a Dana White smile and made it clear that Conor McGregor is coming back at the end of June for his triumphant return UFC 303. Last time we did see Conor McGregor, he did break his leg, and that was in 2021. And we've been hearing about this fight with McGregor and Chandler, and we were waiting and waiting and waiting when it was going to happen. I actually thought it was never going to happen, and we got the date that it's going to be June 29th.

So coming up this summer, you will see the return of Conor McGregor into a UFC Octagon. Dean Thomas is going to join us momentarily on the Zach Gelb show on Infinity Sports Network. And Dean's kind enough to join us right now after what was an epic UFC 300. Dean, appreciate the time as always.

Thanks so much for doing this. How you been, my friend? I'm good, man. How are you?

Well, I'm doing great. So let me start you off with the last fight, the main event on the main card. And that was Alex Pereira, who once again, right, it doesn't matter where he fights. All this guy does is win.

He's won the middleweight belt before the light heavyweight belt now. But to see that knockout where he gets hit in the groin, waves off the referee, and then 10 seconds later delivers a knockout. I know you've seen a lot of things in the Octagon, but how did you process that one? I mean, that was gangster. There's no other way to put it other than gangster. I mean, it was if he knew something about Jamal Hill that we all didn't know is if he knew that was coming. So when he got hit in the groin and he just kind of waved off her Dean and said, don't worry, I got this. I mean, it was a gangster move. It was a flex and poor Jamal Hill to come back to accept this fight.

To me, on short notice, he might have came back prematurely before Jamal Hill to have to go out there and be on the receiving end of something as gangster as that was. And I also heard that after the fight, Dana White said that he had a broken pinky toe. So how much does that affect maybe a fighter when you get in the Octagon if you have a broken pinky toe? I mean, that's pretty bad. I mean, it's the little things sometimes and the little things have an effect on your mentality going into a fight. So having a broken pinky toe, knowing that you can't really move as well and knowing that you can't do certain things that little that little element can just turn into such a big, huge factor of a fight.

Just because of the mentality going in, you know, wait a minute, I'm going to be a little bit limited. Dean Thomas here with us on the Zach Gelb show on the Infinity Sports Network. So after the fight, Alex Pereira right is in the Octagon and he's talking about all right. He's had success as a middleweight and he's had success as a light heavyweight. Now he wants to compete in the heavyweight division.

How did you kind of react to that one? And do you think that's something that obviously he could do? Because, man, from the electricity with his introduction and then the performances doesn't matter where he fights. This dude's one of the more entertaining fighters right now in the sport.

He's fully taken advantage of his window of opportunity and you got to give him credit for that. A lot of fighters don't take a full advantage of it because they're not disciplined. And I spent time around Alex Pereira and he's so disciplined, he's so focused on the task at hand, and that is winning fights. His life revolves around winning fights from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed.

He's thinking about winning fights. So I think he can go up to heavyweight and have some success. Can he beat Tom Aspinall? I don't think that the person on a planet who could be Tom Aspinall, but he can still have some success at heavyweight.

He would even have success against Jon Jones, but Tom Aspinall is a different beast. I know it's right after the fight, so you hear Dana say something and it could change a few days later or a few weeks or months later. But he kind of shot that down pretty quickly. He didn't think that would be a smart decision. I was watching his post-fight press conference, UFC 300, and Dana said, I wouldn't go to heavyweight if I was him. I would stay around the light heavyweight division for a little bit.

Why do you think that was? You know, I think sometimes when fighters want to move around a bit, it just kind of convulses the divisions. And, you know, the heavyweight doesn't need Alex Bejeda up there. They need Jon Jones to come back and fight.

That's what they need. So I'm sure he just shot it down for that. But let's keep it real here. Sometimes Dana and the guys don't want things to happen. A little birdie told me that they didn't even want Max Holloway to move up to fight Justin Gaethje. And we saw what happened when Max Holloway moved up to fight Justin Gaethje. He gave us one of the most memorable moments that we will never forget that happened inside the Octagon. And talking about that moment with Dean Thomas right now, I know he's done that before. But on this stage, with 10, 15 seconds left in a fight, a fight that he was going to win, to say, let's just go Savage mode and meet in the middle and beat the start out of each other. And then he delivers the knockout. Like, we've seen buzzer beaters, right, in basketball. I've never seen a buzzer beater like that on that stage in the sport of UFC. I know we talked about Pereira first and how insane his knockout was.

I've never really seen anything that I can remember from Max Holloway. No, you can't. I mean, you can't compare it to anything else.

I was trying to compare it to other sports. And you just can't. And I rolled back to the hotel with Laura Sanko in the whip. And we were talking and I told her we don't know anybody like Max Holloway. Unless you know Max Holloway, you don't know anybody who's built like Max Holloway.

And you can ask your friends. No one knows anybody like this because Max Holloway is just built different. He's a different breed of human being. And what we got to witness. We're lucky to be in the era of Max Holloway. We're just and even Justin Gaethje, we're lucky to be in this era of MMA where these guys have the heart that they have. And they are as good as they are to give us those level of performances and to give it to us with just with just such freedom to just play.

Right. Because some guys that are good, they're like, no, I don't want to fight now because, you know, I tore, you know, my pinkie. You know, saying like, oh, I got to hang now. I don't want to fight right now.

Or we couldn't make the deal. But you got a guy like Max Holloway who said, I'm a gladiator. Gladiators don't walk around with scales asking fighters how much they weigh. They fight.

Justin Gaethje gets poked in the eye and says, waves it off. I don't care. We're still fighting.

We don't know anybody like this. And we are lucky to have been able to witness those two fight. I actually wonder what Max Holloway did after the fight, because obviously he won. But that leg was swollen and you could see it just getting bigger and bigger and bigger during the fight.

Right. You had this experience winning fights before when you win, though, and you get beat up. Does it affect how you party after the fight?

Just wondering. Oh, absolutely. I remember my very first fight, which was in Vegas, UFC 33 against Fabiano. I remember my mouth was so cut up from getting punched in the mouth. I wanted to eat I wanted to eat a burger and I just I couldn't even eat a burger.

I couldn't even eat because the ketchup was burned in my mouth. So I'm sure Max Holloway after a fight like that, he was probably riding high. But I'm sure once he came down, he was in a tremendous amount of pain.

But when he was fighting, if you saw the focus on his face again, we don't know. And I mean, I don't know who your group of friends are, but I can almost assure you, you don't know anybody like like Max Holloway, because I grew up around fighters and none of them are like Max Holloway. Trust me, none of my friends could be as savage as Max Holloway. Wrapping up with Dean Thomas is here with us right now.

Alrighty. So there was all these rumors that at UFC 300, we were going to get this announcement that McGregor's coming back. It's been speculated, right? It's been set up for such a while.

I was at a point, though, where I was like, all right, enough. Just wake me up when we have the date and Michael Chandler is going to be fighting Conor McGregor. Now that we have a date end of June, June twenty ninth at UFC 303. What was your first thought when you heard Dana White announced that late Saturday evening? I was happy about it because we had heard the rumors so much and they had been playing with our emotions for so long for almost two years.

It seemed like. And I remember doing the after tough show of Tough 32 in which Chandler and McGregor competed with the ultimate fighter. And I was like, man, I hope that Chandler gets an opportunity to fight this man, because what he went through, what he put up with the ridicule that he had inside the MMA community because they thought he was thirsty for chasing and waiting, waiting for Conor McGregor. So I am glad that Conor McGregor has finally said, you know what?

I'll fight you. And after that horrendous movie that he did on Roadhouse, I'm so glad to see him back inside. That's I'm glad you brought it up that way, because everyone talks about how long it's been for McGregor to get into the Octagon.

You know, December of twenty, twenty two, I was there at Madison Square Garden. That's the last time we've seen Michael Chandler fight for something that actually means something. So I wonder how much rust he'll have to knock off as well. I don't think he cares. I think for him, he's just trying to cash out. I think he waited this long for McGregor or else he would have retired. I don't think he cares.

I don't think there's going to be any rust. I think this is that once in a lifetime opportunity that a guy like Michael Chandler is fully going to take advantage of. He's not going out to fight a calculated fight in which rust will have an effect on. He's going out to go balls to the wall, either get knocked out or not. Conor McGregor. All he wants to do is put on a show and that's going to be really good for the fans, because whenever you got a guy who wants to put on a show like that, and then you got a guy as dangerous as Conor, who's as lethal as Conor, we're always going to get a good show. And I'm excited about this because I'll be cornering the fighter on that card anyway.

So I'm excited about international fight week. Last thing for Dean Thomas, who joins us right now in the Zach Gelb show, just continuing with that fight. McGregor going up against Chandler.

And I remember two Super Bowls ago, I was talking to Dana White and I said to him, you know, at the time where McGregor breaks his leg, right, he's lost three out of his last four fights. It felt like that was a wrap on his career. I never thought this fight was going to happen.

So I felt that way back in 2021. And now we're going to see them fight in the summer of 2024. What do you expect out of Conor McGregor? Because he was obviously starting to look human the last time we've seen in the last few timeouts in the Octagon. Honestly, I don't expect much from him. I mean, Conor was such a good fighter in his prime.

But that window of being in your prime doesn't last very long. We've seen him just kind of flirt with that line of if he still got it, does he not have it? And then his last couple of fights, he just showed that he doesn't really have it. And so I'm not expecting much from him from a X's and O's standpoint. But in terms of excitement and entertainment, I'm expecting more from him than almost any other fighter on the roster of the UFC because he knows how to bring it.

And his fights are always entertaining. I just don't expect much from him in terms of being a good fighter. I don't expect him to come out with a with a Iliya Taporia like performance. So do you think Chandler's going to win right now if you had to give me an early prediction? If I had to give you an early prediction, I would say that Chandler wins this fight. But as we get closer to the fight, when we start to see Connor train, that may change. So if Connor loses, do you think that's a wrap? Do you think that's it for him with his UFC career? You know, if Connor loses, there's only a couple of other fights for him. Obviously, the Nate Diaz rematch may be a Jorge Masvidal fight, but if he lose or we may see him in a Jake Paul boxing match.

But if he loses, we will never see him in a conversation of UFC gold ever again. He is Dean Thomas. Dean, always appreciate the time. Thanks so much for jumping on board with us today. Thanks for having me, man. I truly appreciate you guys. You got it.

Thanks so much. There he is. Dean Thomas always does a great job breaking down everything. And he knows it from the fighter's perspective, being a part of the UFC for such a long time.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-15 20:43:00 / 2024-04-15 20:50:22 / 7

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