It didn’t take UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens long to find a new home after being released by the UFC just days ago as he’s now signed for the PFL promotion.
‘Lil’ Heathen’ had gone six fights without a win, but after 34 fights in the promotion it seems that his release still came as somewhat of a surprise for the 35-year-old.
“I asked [the UFC] to give me a favorable matchup,” Stephens said on The MMA Hour. “I’ve been fighting beasts, a murderers row for two decades, and I just felt like I was getting iced out. Only fighting once a year, that’s not good on the bank account. I’m just trying to be typical, just like you, I’m trying to provide for my family and the only way I can do that is to fight, and they weren’t really fighting me.
“I got options to go other places once that contract was up. I didn’t even realize I was up on the contract. Probably almost five months went by on the contract, and I didn’t realize my contract was up. I thought I had one more fight on there, and I searched my options and PFL, we’re gonna go do our best to knock everybody the f*ck out and get a million dollars.”
Stephens also sees a positive in the PFL’s faster fight turnaround, which will give him plenty of opportunities to let his fists fly in the coming months.
“It’s a great organization, the fighters over there, the matchups, the potential. They’re gonna pay me a little bit more than the UFC, and I have a chance at a million dollars, which is doable, which I really love. Maybe go in there, win that million dollars, and I like the fact that they fight back to back, month after month. I’m not getting any younger. I love to constantly be fighting. I don’t like sitting and waiting for opponents six months down the road. I’d rather fight once every three months.
“If I can keep doing that, win the million dollars, if they happen to do a [featherweight tournament in] the next one … I’ll drop down and steal the million dollars from the 45ers too. F*ck, I’ll even go up to [welterweight]. There’s opportunity out there, and there’s fights, there’s matchups.”
Stephens also specifically targeted another former UFC star Anthony Pettis as someone that he’d like to lock horns with in the PFL promotion.
“Definitely a potential matchup. But I’ve seen Anthony Pettis at the UFC, we were hanging, shaking hands, but honestly bro, he looked fat and out of shape. His cheeks looked like cheeseburgers. That boy looks like he’s getting paid too much. So I would love to run that back with Anthony.
“Last time, I turned him into a wrestler, he just wanted to wrestle me the whole time. We were in a different place and space at that time, I think now we could bring a lot more violence and action-packed, and I’m gonna be in better shape than that boy, trust me. He’s eating too good.”