Jeremy Stephens went the extra mile to make weight for PFL 4. UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens is slated to take on Myles Price in a lightweight bout this Friday at PFL 4. He was going into the contest with a full beard and hair on his head but things took a bizarre turn when ‘Lil […]
Jeremy Stephens went the extra mile to make weight for PFL 4.
UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens is slated to take on Myles Price in a lightweight bout this Friday at PFL 4. He was going into the contest with a full beard and hair on his head but things took a bizarre turn when ‘Lil Heathen’ struggled to make the weight limit.
During the official weigh-ins for the upcoming PFL event in Atlanta, Stephens came in over the limit and was allowed time to shed off the remaining few pounds. With less than 10 minutes left to reach the division limit, Stephens took to the scale as the last fighter and looked very different than his initial try.
Jeremy Stephens shaves hair & beard to make weight
In a bid to make weight and retain 100 percent of his point tally, Jeremy Stephens brought out the razor to shave off his head and beard. The trick seemed to have worked for the 36-year-old Iowa native who needed to use a towel as he stripped down for his final attempt.
Stephens came in at 156-lbs making him eligible for the lightweight contest. Although title fights follow a rigid compliance to the divisional limit of 155 lbs, non-title fights are allowed a one-pound allowance.
PFL shared an image of Stephen sporting his new look on Twitter.
“Clean Shaven @LiLHeathenMMA hits the lightweight limit. #2022PFL4 156 lbs Stephens vs Price is official for tomorrow night!”
Stephens’ past struggles with weight
Having started his professional career in 2005, Jeremy Stephens made his way into the UFC in 2007 with an unsuccessful debut against Din Thomas. Towards the end of his run in the promotion, Stephens dropped five out of his last six with one being ruled a no contest. In January, he was let go after a nearly 15-year tenure that saw him compete in 33 fights under the banner.
Although he never missed weight when competing in the lightweight division, Stephens has had issues making weight at featherweight. He came in more than five pounds overweight at 150.5 lbs for his outing with Calvin Kattar at UFC 249 and also missed the mark by nearly five pounds against Dennis Bermudez, coming in at 149.5 lbs at UFC 189.
His first showing under PFL did not go his way as Clay Collard managed to secure a win by unanimous decision. Stephens will be looking to get back to winning ways after sacrificing his hair for the upcoming fight with Myles Price at PFL 4.
The next round of this year’s Professional Fighters League regular season took place tonight and MMA News will be right here to bring you the results and highlights! The headliner saw Clay Collard taking on Alexander Martinez. After the completion of the first go-around, the lightweights and light heavyweights returned for their sophomore outings of…
In March this year, the PFL pulled off what many did not expect. Kayla Harrison, arguably MMA’s biggest female star, was persuaded to remain with the promotion despite lucrative offers from both the UFC and Bellator. It was a watershed moment for the PFL, signaling its growing power within the MMA landscape and newfound ability…
In March this year, the PFL pulled off what many did not expect. Kayla Harrison, arguably MMA’s biggest female star, was persuaded to remain with the promotion despite lucrative offers from both the UFC and Bellator.
It was a watershed moment for the PFL, signaling its growing power within the MMA landscape and newfound ability to compete with the big boys. The promotion, which was established upon the ashes of the World Series of Fighting just five years ago, now appears to be on a growth trajectory that could see it soon surpass Bellator as the number two name in MMA.
But if you ask PFL CEO Peter Murray, it already has.
“By a number of metrics, we’re the number two,” he told The MMA Hour earlier this month.
Murray, a former high-ranking executive at the NFL and UFC owner Endeavour Group, believes the PFL’s combination of top talent and broadcast partnerships with the likes of ESPN now make it second only to the UFC.
“How I value it; number one, it’s the quality of the production,” he continued. “Two, caliber of fighters and exciting fights. Three, distribution.”
So, is Murray right in saying the PFL has now surpassed Bellator? And can it ever become as big as the UFC?
PFL Fighters Might Be Better Than You Think
Talent development, says Murray, is one of the key focus areas for the PFL. And the promotion’s strategy is to continually inject new talent into its roster.
“What I love about our format, the product’s fresh every year. Forty-five percent of the roster, new fighters,” said Murray on The MMA Hour. “One of the key KPI’s for us is, a minimum of 25 to 30 percent of the roster, to ensure that their rankings are in the top 25 in the sport.”
Perhaps the most notable inflow of talent has been from the UFC. And despite many considering the PFL a step down in competition, it’s not uncommon to see UFC fighters beaten by the promotion’s mainstays.
Former UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens became the latest this month, losing to Clay Collard in what was an absolute war that surely converted many UFC fans to the PFL. It must be noted, however, that the 35-year-old Stephens is hardly in his prime, having been cut by the UFC after losing five of his last six fights.
But then there’s Anthony Pettis, who after defeating Donald Cerrone and Alex Morono in the UFC, has lost both of his fights since joining the PFL in 2021. Rory MacDonald, both a Bellator and UFC alum, has been similarly tested in the PFL. Additionally, former UFC-turned-PFL heavyweights Fabricio Werdum and Klidson Abreu have found it harder than expected to get their first win in the promotion.
The PFL Is Making Moves To Expand Its Fanbase and Talent Pool
One of the key strengths of the PFL over Bellator, and one that Murray highlights regularly, is the promotion’s distribution through the world’s biggest broadcasters.
In 2019, the PFL followed in the UFC’s footsteps by becoming a broadcast partner of ESPN. But while it’s yet to stage pay-per-view events, Murray says the PFL’s championship event this year will “100 percent” be a pay-per-view event. And next year, he says the pay-per-view structure will expand.
“Then we’ll launch a pay-per-view division in 2023 and we’re working on those details right now, including [signing] some fighters who are in our view and [are of] pay-per-view stature,” Murray told The MMA Hour.
But perhaps the biggest potential game-changer for the PFL is Challenger Series—the promotion’s answer to the UFC’s Contender Series, which launched this year. Like it’s UFC counterpart, the Challenger Series gives up-and-coming fighters the chance to compete for a PFL contract.
This means they have the chance to potentially make $1 million within a year, thanks to the generous compensation offered by the PFL’s seasonal tournament structure. For many, this is a refreshing change from the remuneration practices of the UFC, who are notorious for paying their new talent relative peanuts.
The Challenger Series hasn’t all gone to plan, however. Earlier this month, it was flagged for suspicious betting activity after the PFL announced that the final event of the series would be broadcast live, but was later discovered to be pre-recorded.
The PFL Aims To Capitalize On MMA’s Growing Popularity
Despite the PFL still lacking several divisions offered by the UFC and Bellator, including middleweight and bantamweight, the promotion seems to have all the ingredients to challenge the big boys. And while Murray believes the PFL has already surpassed Bellator, challenging the UFC’s near-monopolistic hold on the MMA market is another thing entirely.
But Murray believes the PFL will only continue to grow and prosper alongside the UFC, thanks to the ever-expanding global MMA fanbase.
“Our thesis and why we launched the PFL four years ago; there’s room for more than one leader in the sport,” he told The MMA Hour. “600 million fans. This is Nielson data; three years ago, 400 million fans. So, in three years’ time, you have fan growth around the world of 200 million. So, it’s the third-largest fan base in all of sports, behind soccer and basketball, it’s the fastest-growing, it’s the youngest of all major sports in terms of the fans, and half of this fan base is not watching stick and ball sports.”
Murray says that the PFL’s goal isn’t necessarily to steal fans away from the UFC. By having a tournament-based structure, the promotion is simply offering them a different experience and more fights.
“So [MMA fans are] underserved; they want access to more premium MMA content and fights,” said Murray. “For the PFL, that is simply our business thesis, we’re fulfilling that demand with a quality product, with great fighters, and a differentiated experience.”
PFL lightweight and former UFC fighter Jeremy Stephens is continuing his verbal barrage on former foe Anthony Pettis. Stephens competed in arguably the ‘Fight of the Year’ so far in 2022, going toe-to-toe with Clay Collard in the 2022 PFL season opener on Wednesday night. Despite a strong start, he lost the bout on the…
PFL lightweight and former UFC fighter Jeremy Stephens is continuing his verbal barrage on former foe Anthony Pettis.
Stephens competed in arguably the ‘Fight of the Year’ so far in 2022, going toe-to-toe with Clay Collard in the 2022 PFL season opener on Wednesday night. Despite a strong start, he lost the bout on the judges’ scorecards via unanimous decision.
Stephens signed with the PFL following a long stay in the UFC. While the end of his UFC tenure was rocky with five-straight defeats, he proved in his PFL debut that he can still compete against some of the top lightweights.
In the leadup to his fight with Collard, Stephens ripped Pettis for his struggles last year. After being arguably the league’s biggest signee of 2021, Pettis failed to reach expectations with losses to Raush Manfio and Collard.
“He’s at 170. I told you guys, he looked a little big when I saw him around the UFC, then he moved up,” Stephens said of Pettis. “I feel like he’s not treating the company very fairly. They pay him a lot of money, he doesn’t show up for them, for you guys. Around here, he’s just a walking big fame. I turned him into a wrestler, too, so, we can get into it at ’55 (or) ’70. If he happens to run across, I would love to fight Anthony Pettis.”
Stephens and Pettis competed against one another once before while each man was still in the UFC, with Pettis earning a split-decision win at UFC 136. Three fights later, Pettis would earn the lightweight title over Benson Henderson via a first-round finish at UFC 164.
Pettis is set to face Myles Price in his season debut at PFL 3 on May 6. If he’s able to pull off an impressive win over Price, a rematch nearly 11 years in the making with Stephens could be in the cards.
Do you want to see a Jeremy Stephens vs. Anthony Pettis rematch in 2022?
PFL lightweight Jeremy Stephens has named the war between Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns as a motivation behind his own barnburner against Clay Collard. If fans thought the Fight of the Year conversation came to a close at UFC 273 earlier this month, they were sorely mistaken. At the opening event of this year’s Professional…
Following the contest, Stephens credited the work of two UFC welterweight stars for firing him up ahead of PFL 1 on Wednesday.
Stephens Credits Chimaev & Burns For ‘Pumping’ Him Up
During his post-fight interaction with the media, Stephens pointed to the April 9 welterweight clash between elite UFC contenders Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns. The pair threw down for three rounds inside the Octagon at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville.
Having seen that FOTY-worthy bout, “Lil Heathen” said he was fired up to debut in the PFL with a similarly “insane” matchup. To say he did just that would certainly be an understatement.
“He was getting tired, we were banging, who wouldn’t want to see another two rounds of that, right? … That was a sick-ass fight dude,” said Stephens. “You know, I watched that Chimaev and Burns fight, and that fight really pumped me up. I was like, ‘Dude, I wanna get into a f*ckin’ fight like that.’ And coming here tonight, you know, I’ve been watching Formula One, I was ready to die tonight.
“It’s been a long f*ckin’ layoff, so it was good to come in here and have that type of scrap, have a guy with a set of balls on him to fight me like that,” added Stephens. “I think I clipped him like seven, eight times dude. That was an insane fight.”
Taking the similarities beyond just the action, Stephens followed in the footsteps of Burns, who fell short at UFC 273, by admitting his frustration at not having another two rounds inside the cage with Collard. Like “Durinho,” Stephens is targeting a five-round rematch down the line.
The PFL environment makes that a big possibility. If both Stephens and Collard qualify for the lightweight playoffs at the end of the year, they could well get some more time to exchange leather.
Former UFC fighter and newly-signed PFL lightweight Jeremy Stephens learned a lot watching Anthony Pettis’ struggles last year in the league. Stephens is set to take on Clay Collard in the PFL 1 headliner this Wednesday night in Arlington, TX. After a long tenure with the UFC, Stephens is hoping for a fresh start in…
Former UFC fighter and newly-signed PFL lightweight Jeremy Stephens learned a lot watching Anthony Pettis’ struggles last year in the league.
Stephens is set to take on Clay Collard in the PFL 1 headliner this Wednesday night in Arlington, TX. After a long tenure with the UFC, Stephens is hoping for a fresh start in his MMA career with his move to the PFL.
One curious element of Stephens’ move to the PFL is a potential future rematch with Pettis at lightweight. Stephens fell to Pettis at UFC 136 via a split decision.
Pettis signed with the PFL last year but didn’t live up to expectations. He lost a unanimous decision to Collard in the 2021 opener followed by a controversial split decision loss to Raush Manfio.
Stephens has never been one to shy away from his true feelings about everything related to MMA. During PFL 1 Media Day, he didn’t pull punches when explaining what he feels went wrong for Pettis in 2021.
“For one, he was too fat to make 155,” Stephens told media members. “And to take from that experience with Clay Collard, he didn’t take it serious. They paid him a ton of money, and he didn’t earn it. He went in there and looked sloppy. He went in there and looked like he didn’t show up. Clay Collard went in there, beat his ass up. That’s facts.”
Stephens, like Pettis, is looking to get back in the win column after a tough losing streak to end his time in the UFC. His last win came against Josh Emmett in Feb. 2018.
Pettis will face up-and-coming prospect Myles Price in his season debut on May 6. If both he and Stephens can get back on track, another fight between them in the PFL seems inevitable.
Do you want to see a Jeremy Stephens vs. Anthony Pettis rematch this season?