Jeremy Stephens was supposed to end last Sunday as a newly-married man. But, because of his other commitment as a professional fighter, he chose to put those plans on hold for the time being.
During the UFC 215 open workouts at Rogers Place on Wednesday, ‘Li’l Heathen’ recounted how understanding and supportive his fiancée was when he broached the idea of moving their wedding date.
“I got the call and I said, ‘alright, who’s the opponent?’ They said ‘Gilbert Melendez,’ and I said ‘hang on, let me call my fiancée real quick’ and see if she’s willing to do it,” Stephens told the assembled media (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“Of course, she supported me 100 percent. And you know, it may cost a little bit more for the wedding, but this is something I definitely wanted to do.”
Melendez, now 35 years old, has been on the shelf for the last year, serving a suspension for his failed UFC 188 post-fight drug test. He last saw action in July 2016, and will be entering his upcoming fight with three consecutive losses.
Stephens feels he is at an advantage, especially since Melendez will be making his debut at 145 pounds.
“He knows what he’s getting. It’s not like you have to look this up through YouTube,” Stephens said. “We’ve both been around a long time, he’s been a fan of me, I’ve been a fan of him, we’re great exciting fighters. I feel like I’ve evolved with the new age, I’ve adapted to these top guys at 145 pounds. He’s in new territory and he’s gotten older.”
UFC 215 takes place on Saturday, September 9th. It will now be headlined by the women’s bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, after Ray Borg pulled out from his own title fight against Demetrious Johnson due to illness.