Former professional boxer-turned-mixed martial arts fighter, Ricardo Mayorga is expected to face nine-time UFC veteran Din “Dinyero” Thomas (25-8) at Shine Fights III, tentatively set for sometime in April.
Ever since Thomas signed with Shine Fight Promotions back in December, he has made it very clear he wanted to fight Mayorga. After what Ray Mercer did to Tim Sylvia, one might think MMA fighters would be a bit hesitant to get in the cage with former high-level boxers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com) spoke with Din Thomas this week to get his take on Mayorga, and why he wanted this fight. Din also talked to us about fighting outside the UFC, his acting career, and what the future holds for the 33-year-old lightweight prospect.
PRO MMA NOW: Din, Thanks for taking some time out to take to talk to us at Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com). You made it clear since you signed with Shine that you wanted Mayorga. Why do you want this particular fight so bad?
DIN THOMAS: I went public about at UFC 71 about boxers who wanted to fight an MMA fighter that I was the man for the job. I stand on my statements. I’ve always been a boxing fan and still love to box. I respect them as athletes and combat artists. I don’t see why they don’t respect us as the same. I have a very analytical and logical mind. If you don’t respect me and you think I’m an easy target, prove it. That goes for anybody really.
PRO MMA NOW: We’ve heard you intend to stand with Mayorga, but does that mean you will kick-box or just box? Are takedowns totally out of the question?
DIN THOMAS: I’m not sure yet. Nothing is totally out of the question.
PRO MMA NOW: What are your thoughts overall on professional boxers stepping into the world of MMA, it seems more and more boxers are crossing over into MMA?
DIN THOMAS: Anybody can step into MMA and as the sport continues to rise, more and more folks will step into the game. I like it. I think it’s flattering. And as my days of a fighter dwindle, I will always be involved in the training of these athletes.
PRO MMA NOW: I’ve talked to a few boxers who seem to think the transition to MMA wouldn’t be difficult. When we talked to Ray Mercer, he spoke differently, especially once he actually stepped in there. He gives MMA fighters a lot of respect for what you guys do. Do you think a lot of the “talk” from boxers is from them feeling that boxing is a more “elite” sport then MMA?
DIN THOMAS: Without a doubt. When you participate in a sport that is limited to just punching a guy, it can give you a false sense of security. They will never understand the intricate details involved with grappling. If you do not respect the sport in its entirety, you can never understand the balance, the pressure, grips, distance, etc. And that’s just distinguishing between ground fighting and boxing. There are distinct differences between boxing, kickboxing, and striking for MMA. If you don’t know them, you are at a severe disadvantage. Boxers who think this, will not last long. It would be like Usain Bolt playing in the NFL. He is of course the fastest man in the world. He could criticize any NFL player and say because he’s faster he should return kickoffs. But I am more than willing to bet he probably wouldn’t be able to return kickoffs in a college game much less a NFL game. He would probably get carried off the field with his helmet on backwards.
PRO MMA NOW: You’ve had some high profile victories in your career especially in the UFC. You lost to Kenny Florian, and then later helped him train for his fight with B.J. Penn. Obviously we know what Penn did to Kenny, and then he dismantled Diego. What would be your approach to fighting B.J. if you had a shot at him?
DIN THOMAS: I think B.J. is the most dominant in his division than any of the other champions. The only way to beat B.J. would be to do to B.J. what B.J. does to others. I would have to beat B.J. on the feet.
PRO MMA NOW: I know you were working on some movie projects this past summer, what’s the latest on the movie scene?
DIN THOMAS: I had a role in an indie called “Natalie Queen of Scots”. It’s a kids movie. It was in post production. “Loren Cass”, a film I did like ages ago has finally gotten way and some much deserved credit. Acting is just like fighting. You have to have realistic expectations. I don’t expect to star opposite Denzel Washington anytime soon. Just like fighting though, I will continue to train, work on my craft, and get better at it. But I am passionate and I do work thoroughly and consistently at it… not because I want to be a big-time movie star. But because I like to be good at whatever I’m doing.
PRO MMA NOW: We aren’t going to see you go “Rampage” and walk away from MMA to act are we?
DIN THOMAS: I’m definitely an opportunist. I take advantage of opportunities. I don’t think I’m good enough yet to act consistently on that level, but I will be. I will never totally walk away from MMA though.
PRO MMA NOW: Say you did walk away, and got to work with anybody in Hollywood, who would it be and what kind of movie would it be?
DIN THOMAS: I would love to be in Oceans 14 if they ever did that. If not that, maybe Kim Kardashian would be willing to do the sequel to the video she did with Ray-J. I would love to be in that as well.
PRO MMA NOW: You’ve won three fights in a row, and a high profile win over Mayorga would be big. Do you have any aspirations of someday returning to the Octagon, or do you see upstart promotions like Shine Fight Promotions as being your home for the next couple of years?
DIN THOMAS: Don’t get me wrong I loved being with the UFC. But it’s a job and sort of like a marriage. We got divorced and I’m not looking to go back. And I’m not really looking forward to getting into any multi-fight contracts with any organization. I love the fact that I can help upstart promotions like Shine, but I don’t want to be tied down with any one company right now. I like my freedom.
PRO MMA NOW: What can MMA fans expect to see from Din Thomas in 2010?
DIN THOMAS: Besides one of the obvious typical black athlete afflictions of either getting some white girl(s) pregnant, getting arrested for guns and or drugs, or getting shot at in the club, I plan to have a hell of a year.
PRO MMA NOW: What is one of the most embarrassing tracks that you rock on your iPod? I know my boys dogged me when they saw “Ballerina Girl” from Lionel Richie on mine… (laughs)
DIN THOMAS: My man, Mark from Air Traffic Control, a high end sneaker store in South Beach, just laced my iPod up with like 300 tracks. Some real hotness too. BUT, he put like five Taylor Swift songs on there.
PRO MMA NOW: On that note… Thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com), are there any shout outs that you’d like to send out?
DIN THOMAS: 1001 Submissions at www.1001submissions.com.
By: Denny Hodge