While Jeremy Stephens stated that he respects Drakkar Klose a year after an unfortunate incident at a pre-fight staredown a year ago, that doesn’t change anything in Klose’s eyes.
In April 2021, Klose was scheduled to face Stephens at UFC Vegas 24. Both fighters gained weight and squared off before Sean Shelby, matchmaker. Stephens unexpectedly shoved Klose, which led to injuries that forced Klose out of the bout — and out of action for another year.
Stephens left the UFC in December and has signed with PFL. He’ll be making his promotion debut on Wednesday at the kickoff party for the season of the promotion. While “Lil’ Heathen” is sick of talking about the shove, he did praise Klose for his performance in stopping Brandon Jenkins via second-round TKO this past Saturday at UFC Vegas 51.
“Yet, with all we have been through, the chaos and misquoting of me, all that s ***, would be overwhelming. Stephens stated (h/t MMA Mania ).). “He went and got his win and battled through a lot of s*** that he’d been going through. I have nothing but respect with him going forward. I hope he goes in there and kills it and gets to the top.”
Klose, in response, isn’t buying what Stephens is selling.
“Someone told him to say that. It’s bull ****,” Klose said that in an interview with MMA Fighting. The interview will be available on the podcast version Heckof a Morning . “It is what it is, and hopefully he wins his fights in the PFL and makes it back to the UFC so I can fight him.”
Klose made the walk to the octagon for the first time since suffering a second-round knockout loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC 248 in March 2020 and earned his first UFC stoppage win, as well as a performance bonus. The 34-year-old — who has returned to training at The MMA Lab after a short stint at fellow Arizona gym Fight Ready — was happy to be back for his own fight week. Klose was able to face Jenkins without any hesitation on the day of his bout. He didn’t need to be as vigilant after the fight with Stephens one year ago.
” I know that it is not his style but we decided to do a little reenactment [at the face-offs],” Klose made of Jenkins. “Jeremy, he is that kind of guy. He needs to make the other guy mad to win the victory, to get [his opponents] together to fight it out .”
Speaking with MMA Fighting in April 2021 shortly after the incident with Stephens, Klose admitted he wasn’t thrilled with how the UFC handled the situation — more so with UFC president Dana White almost praising Stephens for being “a savage” in the moment and not penalizing the 47-fight veteran.
While Klose says he’ll have a lot more to say of the situation when his career comes to an end, he has learned a valuable lesson about the fight game, and his pursuit of professional happiness.
” I just know that it’s now a business, so I have to make sure I take care of me first. Klose stated, “It’s the way I want to handle my entire career. I will make my business decisions.
“When I got in this sport, it was like, ‘I want to be the champion,’ but there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes [things]. A champion is not possible for everyone. The UFC, they know who they want to be champions, and they push the guys that they want to be champion. But if I keep winning, and do it spectacular, maybe I’ll get a shot at that title someday.”