LONDON, ONT. - Another fight, another key moment in Sam Stoutís career.
The pressure is nothing new for one of Londonís best-known mixed martial artists.
It seems every time he fights, heís battling not only to win but to climb another rung in his career.
On Saturday, Stout takes on Yves Edwards at UFC 131 in Vancouver. A win and Stout moves well up in the UFCís lightweight picture.
A loss . . . well, Stout doesnít think about that.
ďIím really confident,Ē Stout said from Las Vegas, where heís been training.
ďIím in the best shape of my life. I donít see any reason why I canít go out and dominate
Stout has made a good run of it. Heís a popular fighter in the UFC because he leaves everything in the ring. Heís won the fight-of-the-night bonus several times, allowing him to invest in the Adrenaline Training Centre in London along with Chris Horodecki and main owner Mark Hominick.
But as Stout knows, that was then. This is now and the picture is getting crowded at the UFCís 155-pound division.
ďItís a very important fight because of all the addition of the new guys to UFC at 155 with the addition of Strikeforce and WEC. Itís a tough time,Ē Stout said. ďA lot of guys are trying to keep their spots and Iím one of them. I need to go out and perform well.Ē
Stout said he canít remember the last time he felt as good physically and mentally.
ďThereís a lot of tough guys in this division but a good dominant win over a guy like Yves Edwards, who has been in the sport for so long, will show what Iím made of and show that I am a UFC contender,Ē Stout said.
Stout has had some time off dealing with an injury. His last fight was Oct. 23, when he won a decision over Paul Taylor.
Since then, heís helped Hominick get ready for his UFC featherweight title fight in April in Toronto and in turn, it has helped him get ready for this bout.
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ďI think the fact I havenít fought in so long made me a hungrier to fight,Ē Stout said. ďI havenít been in there in so long Iím anxious to get in there.
ďOn top of that, the fact Mark had that huge fight, I wanted to get behind him so I started my training camp really early to be there for Mark and be a good training partner for him. I just kept my camp rolling. Rather than starting eight weeks out and going from zero to 100, I started 10, 11 weeks out and sort of eased into it and that was a lot better for me.Ē
Stout, (Hands of Stone) is 16-6-1 and has won three of his last four bouts. Edwards is a veteran with an MMA record of 40-16-1.
Stout has been a main card pay-per-view combatant several times. This time he is on the main undercard, a bout that will be shown on Spike TV before the 9 p.m. pay-per-view card starts.
Stout likes the position.
ďThis one is a solid spot on Spike TV,Ē Stout said. ďMost people who watch pay-per-view watch Spike. A lot only watch the Spike because itís free. It goes out to millions of people so a lot of people see you,Ē he said.
Itís a good time to be a member of the Adrenaline Training Centre. Stout, Horodecki and Hominick are all getting good fights and the exposure has been tremendous.
Hominick had a tremendous bout against Jose Aldo. Earlier in April, Horodecki won big in Orillia. Now itís Stoutís turn in Vancouver.