London Calling: An Interview with "Hands of Stone" Sam Stout
I know what you’re thinking: man, all this guy does is interview Canadian fighters.
Well, not entirely, but we have this weird idea up here in the Great White North where we do our best to help our fellow Canadians succeed wherever we can. Crazy, right?
Sam Stout is no different; the minute I contacted the London, Ontario native, he accepted this invitation, opening the door to a cadre of questions about his upcoming fight with Phillipe Nover, a potential trilogy fight with Spencer Fisher, and whether Tyson Griffin does in fact have a gigantic ass.
This is the K2 Interview Series...with Sam Stout.
Thanks for doing this.
How did London turn into a hotbed for MMA talent?
Shawn Tompkins was the one who kind of brought MMA into the city of London.
When I first started training with him, we were mostly doing just kickboxing, but then TKO out of Montreal started to take off and he saw it as an opportunity for us to get more fights and explore new venues.
He got myself and Mark Hominick and a couple of our other guys some mixed martial arts fights up there and the rest is history.
Who wins a fight between all the London boys?
Almost all of us are different weight classes, but we all have our good days and we all have our bad days where some days I come out on top, some days Mark comes out on top and some days Chris (Horodecki) comes out on top. Really though, we’re all just trying to make each other better.
Dana White recently announced that the UFC would be making a stop in Vancouver in 2010, while a trip to Toronto has yet to materialize. What do you think is holding up the legislation for bringing MMA to the biggest city in the country?
I think there are just a couple people who are not seeing the potential or have some kind of bias against mixed martial arts. I don’t think that will last much longer.
I think they’ll start seeing how much money these shows bring in, how much revenue they bring to the cities that hold these events and they won’t be able to keep it illegal much longer.
Overall, what do you think of the state of MMA in Canada right now and where do you see it going in the future?
It’s just going to keep growing. As time goes on, more and more people are getting into it.
I’m getting recognized more and more often by people; little old ladies know who I am sometimes and it’s pretty interesting to see how mainstream it’s become and I think it’s just going to keep growing the way it has been.
So you’ve got your eighth fight with the UFC coming up next week against TUF 8 alum Phillipe Nover.
First off, how has training camp been going and tell everybody where you spend your days getting ready to fight.
Camp has been going great. I started off at the Adrenaline Training Centre, my old gym, in London, Ontario. I was able to work with Nick Johnson, who is a wrestling coach of mine at Xtreme Couture in Toronto, and about six weeks ago I flew out to Las Vegas and am training at Xtreme Couture with Shawn Tompkins.
The guys out here are unbelievable; there’s myself, Gray Maynard, Tyson Griffin, Martin Kampmann, Mike Pyle, Frank Trigg and Vitor Belfort that are all getting ready for fights within three days of each other.
Everyone in the gym is in shape; everyone in the gym is really working hard and pushing each other. Training camp has been unbelievable.
I’ve also been working on my jiu jitsu with my jiu jitsu coach out here Keebo Robinson, so I’m really covering every aspect of the game and I’m really looking forward to this fight.
Did you watch the show at all; and if so, what is your assessment of his skills in the cage?
Yeah, I watched the show and I watched all his fights on the show. I tracked down the DVD of it and watched them all again, actually.
He’s a tough competitor, you know, he comes to fight and I think I’m going to have an advantage when it comes to the experience factor; I’ve been in there quite a few more times than him and I’ve been under the bright lights more times and I think that’s going to help me out and I don’t really see any way he's going to be able to stop me.
I think it’s a really good fight for me.
From his time on the show and his first fight at UFC 98, Nover appears to be a guy who likes to stand and trade. Is this going to be another Sam Stout stand-up war?
(Laughs) Yeah, don’t be surprised if you see that.
Going into the finale, many people were picking him to win it all and skyrocket to stardom, but so far the exact opposite has happened.
Has The Ultimate Fighter turned into a hype-machine more than a proving ground and opportunity for young fighters, or are we just seeing how deep the talent pool is in MMA right now?
I think it’s a little of both, but I think the show is still a really good way of scouting new guys and getting guys some exposure. But I don’t think you can expect people to come out of that show and just start tearing through divisions.
I think when Phillipe went on the show he only had six pro fights or something like that, so it’s really an experience thing too. You’re not going to come in and tear through the division with only six fights on your record because you need to still come into the UFC and start at the bottom, building your way up.
It’s still an important thing and a really big reason for why the sport is what it is today, so I don’t think the show is useless or anything like that, but you can’t expect too much of guys right off the bat.
You’ve gone the distance in each of your last four fights. Do you see this fight going the full 15 minutes, or are we going to see a stoppage?
I would like to finish it early, but I would like to finish it early every time I fight.
The thing about me is, like I said, I’m pretty experienced; I know you can’t force a knockout, you can’t force a submission. You just have to go out there, fight your fight, stick to your game plan, and whatever happens happens.
You can’t look for the knockout if it just doesn’t happen, you know? I’d like to knockout every person that I fight, but that doesn’t always happen. There are some really tough tests in the UFC. If it happens, I’ll be ecstatic, but if it doesn’t, as long as I come out with the win, I’m happy.
You’ve never been knocked out in your career.
Knock on wood.
How do you pass medical exams with those iron plates fused to your jaw? Doesn’t that give you a distinct advantage over your opponents?
(Laughs) Yeah, I don’t know what that is, but my chin has definitely been a help in my career for sure. It’s just, I don’t know. I was born with an iron jaw I guess. I can’t explain it.
Before getting around to some more insightful and investigative journalism-type questions, let’s run through the Keyboard Kimura Questionnaire:
It’s tough because there are so many good guys. It’s tough to argue with Anderson Silva, but I’m also a big Georges St. Pierre fan.
Best fight you’ve ever seen—live or otherwise?
One of the most exciting ones I’ve seen was, I really liked watching the Chuck Liddell-Wanderlei Silva fight a couple years ago. Great fight to watch, really exciting.
Most underrated Fighter?
That’s tough to say. I don’t underestimate anybody, so I can’t really say.
Does the same apply to most overrated?
I think most of the guys who come in with just a lot of hype get exposed pretty quickly, so there isn’t a lot of underrated or overrated guys out there right now.
I do think somebody to watch out for is Vitor Belfort making his comeback against Rich Franklin. Don’t underestimate that guy.
I think this weekend is going to be an introduction to Vitor Belfort for a lot of people. For those who haven’t seen him in some time, it’ll be a chance to see him in top form again and for those who have never seen him fight before, it’s going to be a wake-up call.
D'you know who might be the most underrated right now? Gray Maynard.
That guy—I’ve been out there training with him, he’s a really close friend of mine—that guy’s a killer. He’s an unbelievable wrestler, he's such a hard worker, and he’s putting the rest of his game together, so he’s definitely somebody who not everybody knows about that everybody should be talking about.
So then we’ll put him as best prospect because that was the next one.
If I wasn’t a fighter, I would be a ...
Well, I was going to school to be a paramedic before this, but I don’t know if that would have worked out, so I don’t know. Who knows, man? Maybe a porn star or something.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask you this and I will certainly not be the last, but do you think we could see Stout–Fisher III?
I would love to do it again. The way I see it, it has to happen eventually; we’ve got two fights, I won the first, he won the second, they’ve both been really close, really exciting fights.
I get asked about the rubber match at least once a week, so I welcome the chance to get in there and do it with him again, have it one more time and settle the score. I’ve got all the respect in the world for Spencer Fisher, but yeah, I definitely think we need to fight again.
He’s got a tough test ahead of him at UFC 104 against Joe Stevenson. Any early predictions?
You know what? I think that’s a bad matchup for Spencer, especially with Joe over at Greg Jackson’s camp. It really helped him put together a great game plan for his fights now and going back to his roots.
Joe’s a great wrestler and Spencer has had a tough time with wrestlers in the past, so—Joe’s a really good friend of mine too—so, I’m gonna have to probably pick Joe on that one.
It might come as a surprise to some that you’re just 25-years-old, since we’ve seen you in the UFC for the last three years and change.
Do you feel like you’re just now entering your prime and poised to make a sustained run in the lightweight division?
Absolutely, yeah., I think it’s about time for me to start moving into that position. I think I still need to make some improvements, get a couple more wins on my record, so that’s what I’m thinking of doing right now. I’m taking it one step at a time.
Right now, the next step for me is to get this win against Phillipe and keep building on that, keep getting wins. This fight would put me at 4-4 in the UFC should I win it and I know I’m not going to get a title shot with a .500 record, but I look to keep piling up wins and get up there within the next two years.
Not to look passed Phillipe Nover or anything like that, but who do you want to get into the cage with moving forward? Who would be next if you could select your own opponent?
I’d really like to fight Spencer again, to be honest with you.
It makes sense; you’re both in that big middle ground and the rubber match is needed.
Alright, a little more fun stuff.
First, let’s get your predictions for the UFC 103 card.
Franklin vs. Belfort?
Belfort; I think he’ll be too much for Rich. I think he’ll beat him to the punch the whole fight, be too quick for him.
Cro Cop vs. dos Santos?
I’m a huge Mirko Cro Cop fan. I’m really hoping for him that he’s going to pull this one out. I think his experience will help him get the win.
But dos Santos is dangerous; we’ve seen him get a couple big knockouts.
Kampmann vs. Daley? Obviously you’re going with the Xtreme Couture fighter?
Yeah, and the reason for that is I think Martin is going to be too tough for Daley. He’s a fantastic fighter and great kickboxer, but Martin is tough. I can tell you that firsthand.
Hard worker, he’s going to come into this fight in great shape; he’s been training for this fight for a long time, and Daley’s taking it on short notice. Don’t get me wrong, he’s going to have his hands full, but Martin’s going to come out with the win.
If he wins this fight, is Kampmann next in line for GSP? It started as a No. 1 contender fight against Mike Swick...
I think that would have made more sense and really, this is only his third fight at 170, so really, I don’t think it would hurt him to get through this fight and maybe face Swick afterward for that No. 1 contender spot still.
And you know Georges St. Pierre is a beast and as tough as Martin is, I think anyone that’s going to fight him could use all the work that they can get in advance.
Koscheck vs. Trigg?
Yeah, Trigg’s been in the gym, he’s been working really hard and he’s a good enough wrestler that he can neutralize Koscheck’s wrestling. He’s a hard hitter and he’s a lefty, so he’s going to be tricky in terms of stand up. We’ve seen him get knocked out a few times, so I’m hoping Trigg can knock him out.
And also Tyson and Hermes? Was that the other one you were going to ask me about?
Yeah, that’s the next one.
Yeah, that could be a semi-main event. That’s going to be a fantastic fight. I think it’s the fight on the card that I’m looking forward to the most.
Tyson is a great friend and a long-time training partner of mine and Hermes Franca I think is a tailor-made Fight of the Night.
Obviously, I’m picking my boy Tyson; he looks great in the gym right now. He’s on fire and I’m looking forward to seeing him fight Hermes.
That’s the second vote for that fight as a potential Fight of the Night. I did an interview with Ryan Loco last week and he also picked that fight. He also mentioned that Tyson has a giant ass.
So as a good friend and training partner, I need confirmation for everyone out there as to whether Tyson Griffin has a gigantic ass.
(Laughs) He’s definitely got a big booty.
Your nickname of course is "Hands of Stone," a moniker made famous, no offense, by Roberto Duran. If the two of you squared off in a battle for the name, who comes away with the win and the name?
I might shoot for the takedown in that one. If that ever happened, I might get another submission.
As much as "Hands of Stone" is a very apt nickname for you, your last name also presents some interesting options. Ever thought of changing it up and going by Sam "The Beerman" Stout? Think of the endorsement opportunities.
(Laughs) That’s my nickname in the offseason, after the fight.
Favorite beer? Let’s get you an endorsement deal here...
I’m not going to bite the hand that feeds me, so I’ll say Bud Light.
Alright, last two...
If you could fight anyone—past or present—who would it be and who would be the winner?
If you could play matchmaker for one day, regardless of organizational ties or anything like that, what three fights would you make and why?
I’d like to see Fedor and Lesnar, because obviously there is no bigger dispute in the heavyweight divisions about who is the best.
I’d like to see Georges take some time off and put on the weight to come up and fight Anderson Silva. I think that would be fantastic to see.
And I’d like to see Sam Stout–Spencer Fisher III.
The Brock–Fedor fight makes everybody’s list.
Well that’s the only one left that there is any dispute about, right?
Any shoutouts you need to give? We do reach a guaranteed audience of 47 people…
(Laughs) I want to thank Shawn Tompkins. I want to thank Keebo Robinson, my jiu jitsu coach, Rowan Cunningham, my jiu jitsu coach back home in Canada.
Nick Johnson, my wrestling coach and all my training partners at Xtreme Couture in Vegas, Xtreme Couture in Toronto and my home gym, the Adrenaline Training Centre that’s owned by me, Mark Hominick and Chris Horodecki.
Thanks again for doing this and good luck Wednesday.
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