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Din Thomas Talks briefly with ADCC News

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American Top Team member Din Thomas, talked briefly to discuss his budding internet feud with Matt Serra and his recent loss to Tyrone Glover in Japan.ADCC: Din you fought three times in 2005. Is this the pattern you would like to follow or would you like to fight more? DIN: Those fights just kind of came up. They had called me like two weeks prior to a Deep event in Japan and asked if I wanted to fight Tyrone Glover. I was just thinking about that fight today as I was talking to my boxing coach, Howard Davis. You know my confidence for fighting is always high, which can be a bad thing sometimes. I didn’t properly train for that fight but I still felt as though I could win. I stay in decent shape all year round but to take fights against a top level guy, you have to not only be in decent shape, but great shape. You also have to have the hunger of a rookie. That night when it came down to who was hungrier, Tyrone proved to be hungrier, therefore better.ADCC: Can you elaborate more on the fight with Tyrone Glover? Did the fight go as you planned? DIN: It was a pretty good fight. I think that Tyrone will have what it takes to be a top guy. I think he punches pretty well for a respected grappler. He’s definitely a good athlete, strong, with good coaches behind him. We had some exchanges on the feet. I think I was technically a little better in that area. He had some pretty good takedowns. I even got one. But I think at the end of the day, he won because he ended up on top for longer. I’m curious as to know what will become of his career.ADCC: Looking back on your record, you didn’t fight at all in 2004, why was that? DIN: I was tired of the game. It didn’t excite me anymore. I lost my hunger. Look at what happened to many of the great fighters that lost their passion: Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins are perfect examples of this. Additionally, fighters spend so much time in the gym that they miss the world that is moving around them. So I wanted to venture into different avenues for a while. The break has done me some good too. I’m getting a lot of other things done now that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I was still fighting full time.ADCC: In 22 fights, you only have lost five times. Caol Uno twice, Tyrone Glover, Amar Suloev, and BJ Penn. Out of those losses, is there one fight that you really regretted how you performed and would like another shot at the guy? DIN: I think I have 25 fights actually. Anyway, at one point or another, I wanted to fight all of them again except for maybe Tyrone. But after I got over the fact that I lost and as a fighter, you’re going to lose, I never looked back. Specific performances can’t encapsulate a person as a fighter, nor as a person. In all of those fights, I figured out specifically what it was that went wrong and I worked on it. Some of them were mental errors, some physical. Some problems seemed to be out of my control. Bottom line is, I shouldn’t make the same mistakes twice.ADCC: Well it seems as though one of your previous opponents that you defeated in the UFC by split decision in 2003, has mentioned you in an interview and you took offense. He said, ‘I’m not interested in fighting (guys) like Din Thomas whose just going to run away, I like the guys who’ll meet me and fight.’? What is your reply to Matt Serra? DIN: He’s just talking because he lost and he couldn’t figure out what he did wrong. So logically he will blame the opponent. He ought to be ashamed of himself too. He accused BJ Penn of running from him. If that’s the case, wouldn’t you work on things to avoid and combat that? It was the very next fight and he didn’t do his homework. That’s the sign of an inexperienced fighter. In my case, I lost to Uno in the previous fight. I lost because I spent too much time on the bottom. So I regrouped with my squad and worked on it. I knew that Matt had a slim chance of beating me on his feet and a slim chance of submitting me. The only way I could lose that fight was to end up on the bottom. I worked a lot with Pablo Popovitch, Marcus Aurelio, Hermes Franca, Wald Bloise, its just too many to name. Needless to say, I had to keep him off of my legs. My plan worked and I won. Now I suffered the same fate against Glover because I didn’t do my homework. But I knew Matt’s weaknesses, I exploited it. It’s like a football team that is playing a team with a weak secondary. My team will throw all day long. And wouldn’t it be ridiculous to hear a team crying, ‘We would have won if they just ran the ball more!’? The whole thing is funny because I train a lot now with Kurt Pelligrino and he has no problem taking me down. But Kurt has better footwork, range of distance, takedowns, and striking than Matt.ADCC: If a rematch was presented to you, would you fight him again or do you have other goals? DIN: When I heard about his interview, I thought, ‘Damn, it’s been almost three years and he still hasn’t gotten over it. Every time I hear about the fight, it’s the same thing. I got sick of it. So I told him I would give him a chance to redeem himself. Ok actually I said ‘I would shove my fist down his throat’. That can be construed as harsh but truth be told, I think I would beat him again. But now I’m not so sure I even want to fight him again. I’ve always respected Matt for his willingness to fight. He’s got heart, I’ll give him that. But giving him a rematch would be doing him a favor. I got to tell you he has the biggest jackasses for students. Its funny, a few of them actually had me on the Under Ground trying to justify myself against assumptions and false accusations. So now, I’m like ‘why bother?’?. So he can take his loss and he can thank his students for that.ADCC: Do you have any fights lined up in the upcoming months? DIN: I don’t have any fights coming up right now. I am just so busy right now. I have my school and we are doing very well. People think that schools are just some mats, some training partners and a teacher who comes in when everybody else does. Some schools are like that and they end up closed down before the years over. I try to run my school like a well oiled machine. I spend half the day researching, learning, writing curriculum, and implementing systems. Plus, I just had a son 3 months ago, just two weeks prior to the Glover fight.ADCC: How has training with American Top Team changed your game and who do you primarily train with? DIN: It’s very ironic. I had more submission wins when I wasn’t with them. Ironically, I’m a lot better on the ground because of them. It just took me a while to settle in and start to internalize their influence. I knew that after I fought Uno the second time. I hadn’t settled yet. I’m a bit more settled with different skills but I’m still developing. Developing as a fighter is a never ending process. With American Top Team the knowledge of the coaches with Liborio and Howard Davis is just incredible. So sometimes I would get twisted in too many different directions. But I think I got a hold of it now. In these days, I don’t get to train at the main academy often because I run my own school. But when I’m down there I like to train with Dustin Denes and Aaron Riley. JZ Cavalcanti is good for me too.ADCC: What can we expect out of Din Thomas in the year 2006? DIN: There are a few things I’d like to do. I’d like to get my Black Belt in BJJ. I want to get the guys at my academy as good as possible. I love to see people progress at this. And last and certainly not least, at some point in 2006, I want to put everything on hold and just fight. I haven’t been able to do that effectively for a few years and I suffered because of it. Sometime next year I will. And you can ask anybody in the lands, when I dedicate myself to something, you can expect a star-studded event. It’s been a long time since I’ve truly been able to apply myself like that.ADCC: Anything to say to your sponsors and fans? DIN: When I get some, let me know.

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