Cody Stamann (19-3-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) is set to return to the Octagon on Feb. 6, when he’s slated to fight Andre Ewell (17-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) at UFC Vegas 18.
The No. 13-ranked bantamweight Stamann wants to make a statement against Ewell by making sure his foe does not see the final bell. Stamann, in doing so, would get a monkey off his back.
“Anytime I get into a UFC fight with some guy trying to kill me and I get my hand raised, I’m happy,” Stamann told MMASucka. “There’s this lingering thing in the back of my mind: I haven’t finished anyone in the UFC, and that bothers me, because I know I have every tool to do it. I finish guys in the gym all the time. I drop dudes in the gym all the time. I know I have the power in my hands and the capability on the ground to finish people. The fact that I haven’t done it in the UFC, honestly, it hurts me. There’s no other way to say it.”
“The Spartan” has picked up a handful of finishes on the regional circuit, but he’s still looking for his first in the big show. While a UFC finish has eluded him, Stamann has still conquered foes like Bryan Caraway, Tom Duquesnoy and Brian Kelleher.
Stamann said he needs to fight with more tenacity and has built his camp around it. He was originally slated to fight No. 12-ranked Merab Dvalishvili, though the fight fell through.
“I was planning on finishing Merab,” Stamann said. “I didn’t think Merab was going to get out of the first round. Andre Ewell? I don’t think he’s going to get out of the second round.”
Cody Stamann vs. Andre Ewell
Stamann said he plans to put such a beating on Ewell that his next fight should come against someone higher ranked than Dvalishvili. However, he said he needs to take care of businesses against Ewell first.
“Merab was a guy who I personally wanted to test myself against,” Stamann said. “I wanted to test my wrestling against his. I want to fight the best wrestler in the bantamweight division and beat the hell out of him. Just to prove to myself, moving forward, that I can do that. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’d like to see Merab go and beat someone decent before I consider fighting him again.”
Stamann said preparation for his opponent’s style was different, as he went from fighting a short wrestler to a tall striker, he said. Stamann said he likes Ewell’s boxing and in-and-out movements. That said, he’s still ready for the challenge.
“Honestly, I don’t see anything I can’t handle out of Andre Ewell,” Stamann said. “He’s tough, he’s done well and beaten good guys, but I’m coming into my own. I’ve fought everyone. I don’t think the level of guys he’s fighting compared to the level of guys I’m fighting is close, and that’s going to be the big difference. That and my ability to take him down whenever I want.”
Stamann is confident in his ability to get Ewell to the ground, but he believes that’s not the type of fight that fans want to see.
“I think people wanna see two guys bang it out on the feet, and I’m more than capable of that as well.”
Stamann said Ewell’s performance against former bantamweight king Renan Barao – a split decision victory for Ewell – was “really impressive,” though Ewell has yet to fight a current bantamweight in the cream of the crop.
“He hasn’t seen the guys in the top-15 in MMA right now,” Stamann said. “He hasn’t seen that level. Renan Barao, while he was a former champion, that guy fell off. He was not the same guy. To beat a guy like that is impressive, but it’s more about when you beat him.”
Getting Back Into the ‘W’ Column
Stamann is looking to get back in the win column after a decision loss to No. 9-ranked Jimmie Rivera. Stamann said he learned a lesson in making sure the best version of himself shows up to compete from that point on.
“I fought Jimmie Rivera with no notice, without a training camp and without any preparation,” he said. “I was not in a great place to fight mentally. I can’t do that to myself and my career. I can’t make bad decisions like that and take fights I’m not prepared for. I need to be the best I can be every time I step into that cage, because these guys are no joke. Everyone’s going to be tough. I can’t let my ego run me like that. I honestly believed in my heart that it wouldn’t matter. That if I didn’t have time and wasn’t prepared, I didn’t think it would matter.”
Bantamweight Title Picture
The bantamweight division has slowly become one of the premier weight classes in the UFC – if not the best. Loaded with talent from top to bottom, with an influx of top prospects and former champion veterans, 135 lbs. is a shark tank.
Stamann said he’s dreamed of fighting the best in the world his whole life, adding that the best guys are “clearly” at bantamweight.
“You’re talking about former legends like Jose Aldo and all these great athletes who have paved the way for guys like me,” he said. “And I want to fight them. I want the opportunity to prove myself against these guys. It’s great for me that some of the best guys in the world are here. It’s not great for them that I’m here. A lot of these guys hit their peak, and I’m not even coming close yet. I’m still on my way up.”
The division’s champion, Petr Yan, is slated to make his first title defense against Aljamain Sterling; a former opponent turned occasional training partner for Stamann. Stamann gave his breakdown for what he called the biggest bantamweight fight ever, which is scheduled for UFC 259 on March 6.
“Petr is really patient and a smart fighter. But Sterling is a hard guy to deal with. I’ve been in the cage with him; I’ve trained with him. He’s tricky, he’s good everywhere, and he’s really good on the ground. For Aljamain Sterling, the key has to be to get Petr on his back. That’s easier said than done. Petr Yan is a great wrestler in his own right. This is a hard bantamweight fight to make. It’s amazing. Sterling’s had a great run. Petr Yan seems unstoppable. I don’t know who wins that fight.”
Stamann knows he’ll win his fight with Ewell, though. He sees it going one of two ways:
“I’m either gonna beat him quick and it’s going to be pretty painless for him, or let’s say he’s a tough bastard who can take the shots and defend a couple takedowns, it’s going to be a long night for him. My main goal is putting him away. I’m swinging for the fences. Andre Ewell has got to keep me away from him for 15 minutes. All I have to do is bridge that gap one time and it’s over. No matter what happens, I’m getting my hand raised.”
UFC Vegas 18 is set to go down Saturday, Feb. 6 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The card will air on ESPN+ and is headlined by a heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov.
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