Cody Stamann (20-5-1 MMA, 6-4-1 UFC) knows he likely saved his UFC career when he finished Eddie Wineland (24-16-1 MMA, 6-10 UFC) during their bantamweight clash at UFC Austin on Saturday.
“The Spartan” needed just 59 seconds to dispatch Wineland with a barrage of punches, knees and elbows, sending the bantamweight pioneer and former WEC champion riding off into the sunset.
“I feel really good,” Stamann told MMASucka. “I feel like I had a lot going into that fight. I feel like I really had to save my career at that point.”
Stamann envisioned himself finishing Wineland early, and it materialized.
“I trained with that mentality, and I’m glad I was strong enough to shine in that moment, because there was a lot on the line in that fight,” Stamann said.
Cody Stamann via TKO – Punches, 1st round. pic.twitter.com/RQwL6Hxlud
— Ben Kohn (@agentbenten) June 19, 2022
Stamann said he was “absolutely” fighting for his UFC job in the Wineland fight. Stamann had lost three consecutive fights against a murderer’s row of opponents: Said Nurmagomedov, Merab Dvalishvili and Jimmie Rivera.
“I’m thankful that they gave me the Wineland fight because it could’ve been over [after the Nurmagomedov loss],” Stamann said. “I think the UFC sees something in me. I believe that, and I’m happy on Saturday night that I got to prove them right.”
Stamann picked up the first finish in his UFC career over Wineland. He has decision victories over the likes of Bryan Caraway, Brian Kelleher, Alejandro Perez and Tom Duquesnoy. “The Spartan” said finishing Wineland gives him more confidence in his boxing skills going forward, which he believes will result in more T/KO wins.
“I haven’t really fought to finish in the UFC,” Stamann said. “I said it in my [Octagon] interview after, I feel like I’ve been fighting at 30 percent. I really meant that. I feel I haven’t fought near what I’m capable of doing in the UFC. I feel like I’m not hitting at all cylinders. Finally, I had an opportunity and a performance where I felt like I was. I just need to keep moving forward and keep that same energy going into the next one.”
Stamann was immensely focused on the task at hand during the training camp leading to the Wineland fight, as he knew he was likely fighting for his UFC career.
“I knew I could not afford any more mistakes. I could not make another mistake in my athletic career and I had to be perfect. That was the goal going into the training camp. Everything had to be perfect. I could not leave any stone unturned.”
Stamann honed in on his diet, filming all of his training sessions and then going over them with his coaches.
“Just doing all the little extra things that I know could make a difference,” he said. “Any success I had in the past, I was trying to find things that were making me successful, and I really did work extremely hard in preparation for this to make sure I secured what I needed to secure.”
Stamann insulated himself from the “noise” of outside factors such as the betting odds and social media ahead of the Wineland fight. He says he was aware of Wineland’s big right hand, a weapon that Wineland has used for much success throughout his career. But Stamann tried to focus more on himself and his skill-set than Wineland’s.
“You hear athletes say it all the time: they get caught up in ‘this and this and this,’ and they kind of lose themselves. I definitely lost myself,” Stamann admitted. “When I started checking back in, I focused on me and filming all of my sparring sessions, and not watching as much film on my opponent. Just trying to sharpen the tools that I have. Things changed. My mentality changed, my approach changed, and my confidence when I got in there was 10-times what it had been anytime in the past.”
When Stamann battered Wineland against the cage and the referee finally pulled him away, the win did not immediately sink in.
“I don’t think it hit me that it was over and I did what I had planned to do,” he said. “It was a beautiful moment. I’ll remember it forever, but I definitely won’t forget the bad shit that happened before. That’s really the motivating factor behind it. You don’t get a lot of opportunities as an MMA athlete to perform, so you have to do absolutely everything you can to be at your absolute best every single time, and moving forward, I will do that.”
Going forward in his MMA career, Stamann plans to up the aggression in all facets.
“Throughout my training camp, I can’t skate through rounds and kind of just win rounds. I need to be aggressive. I need to go after my training partners. I need to be more aggressive on the mitts. More offensive. I need to do all the little stuff right. Just really being honest with myself. That means critiquing everything that you do. And not doing it from a negative place, but ‘Hey, you dropped your hands there,’ or ‘Hey, your feet aren’t set when you’re doing this,’ or ‘Hey, this kick looks weird. There’s something wrong with it.’ And then just going through and trying to systematically fix all those things so that when you get in the cage, you’ve already made all the mistakes you need to make and you don’t make those mistakes in the cage.
“That’s what I’m taking moving forward,” Stamann continued. “I’m not going to focus on who I’m fighting, but who has to fight me. I’m going to be focused on being the absolute best athlete that I’m capable of being.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 18, 2022
Who has to fight Stamann next and when are still up in the air. Stamann said he could be ready to go in a couple of weeks, but it has to be the right fight for that to happen. An opportunity that is “really sexy,” Stamann said. And it would likely have to be a weight class up at featherweight.
Otherwise, “The Spartan” is looking to do battle again in September or October.
Stamann, a former top-15 bantamweight contender, said he is not putting too much stock into the official rankings anymore, as he has the self-belief that he belongs there.
“I’m just going to go out there and fight whoever they tell me to fight and see where that leaves me. I think of myself as a top-10 contender right now. I’ve spent a lot of time in the top-15. I don’t really care about the number as much as I care about winning the right fights and building my brand.”
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