Cody Stamann Would ‘Absolutely’ Fight in Brazil Again After UFC 283 Win Over Luan Lacerda

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Cody Stamann (21-5-1 MMA, 7-4-1 UFC) stood on the edge of the heart of Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, preparing for his walk to the Octagon, where he would soon fight hometown favorite Luan Lacerda (12-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

A three-minute commercial break kept Stamann standing there while he awaited the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” to fill the arena. The Sparta, Michigan native was met with water bottles being thrown at him by the Brazilian crowd, he said.

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Stamann wants people to imagine that happening to them right before they are about to walk out and fight.

“It was a crazy, crazy atmosphere, especially just walking and getting in a fight,” Stamann told MMASucka. “I was really relishing it. I actually loved it. I loved it. I would 100 percent love to see that in the U.S. for a hometown kid.”

Stamann won the fight, earning a unanimous decision and scores of 29-28 across the board. It put “The Spartan” on a two-fight winning streak and cost Lacerda his UFC debut in his hometown. He gave himself a C+ grade for his performance after fending off Lacerda at UFC 283.

“After watching the fight, I felt like I could’ve done more,” Stamann said. “Especially in the first round, I started pretty slow. I was expecting Luan to come out guns blazing, and I really wanted to take the time to find the range, hit my angles, figure out what was going to work and what wasn’t going to work. Especially fighting a debut guy I don’t know much about.”

While Stamann wanted to feel his foe out, the feel-out process lasted halfway into the first frame, he said. He admits he should have stepped on the gas pedal sooner. But he still feels he did enough to win rounds 1 and 2, at least.

“I heard all the shit of like, people thought Luan won the first round and the third round,” Stamann said. “I don’t see how that’s f—ing possible. The kid didn’t hit me. I mean, outside of slamming my arms with body kicks, there wasn’t much landed in terms of damage. I don’t have a single mark on my face. I don’t remember ever being hit in the face. Outside of the takedown, there wasn’t really anything offensively he did good outside of just throw body kicks which I blocked.”

Stamann and Lacerda opened up on each other in the second round, but it was Stamann who found his boxing range, hitting Lacerda with clean shots. Stamann said Lacerda was tougher and more durable than he thought he would be.

“I know I hit him with some really, really, really hard shots. Shots, that I think other guys, the shots would’ve shut them down. He kind of shook it off and kept coming forward.”

Stamann thought he would be pressing the action midway into the fight and pictured Lacerda diving for takedowns, pulling guard, or doing whatever he could to get the fight to the ground.

“Yeah, he did impress me,” Stamann said. “I knew there was a reason I was going down there to fight Luan. I knew he was tough. He wasn’t a guy you give another 1-0, 2-0 guy in the UFC. I think he’s going to do really well. Just with his grappling accolades and how ballsy he is on his feet. The kid will do well in the UFC. I hate that I had to go down there and destroy his dream in his hometown. But that’s the sport. It’s me or him every single time. I wish him the best. He’s a super nice guy. A very nice family. I’d like to see him do really, really well. Who knows? Maybe we’ll fight again.”

It wasn’t until the third round that Lacerda was able to ground Stamann. And while Lacerda, a blackbelt world champion grappler, was able to snatch Stamann’s neck, the Michigander said he held onto Lacerda’s hand for dear life and waited for his opportunity to escape. That, he said, is what he needed to do. He learned the lesson after his submission loss to Said Nurmagomedov.

“I was more experienced in that position,” Stamann said. “I knew I couldn’t just do something crazy and get out. I knew I had to wait and be patient, find the opening. As soon as the opening popped up, boom, I was out and I was going again. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I won’t make them again. This time, when I come to the top, I’ll be ready for all those motherf—ers.”

Stamann said he was confident when he heard all three judges scored the fight 29-28 while he and Lacerda stood awaiting the winner of their clash to be announced.

“I was like, ‘Well, I know I won the first and second.’ That was the scorecard I was expecting. Obviously, when you go to Brazil, you’re a little bit more hesitant, but I saw a couple of fights go to a decision and one of them wasn’t scored for a Brazilian which I thought was the right score, so I’m like, ‘I think they’re actually going to be pretty fair.’ I wasn’t nervous. I’ve been more nervous for other fights. I was pretty sure I had it in the bag.”

The pre-fight chaos from the Brazilian crowd was not indicative of Stamann’s entire experience with the fans, he said.

“I was expecting nonstop hostility from the Brazilian people in every realm. From the hotel to every single part of the trip, I was expecting Brazilians to be on my ass. But it was a lot different. The fans at the hotel and in Rio on the beach and stuff were super respectful, super nice. Loved fighters. Just all around a great atmosphere. Then, the second you get to the arena, it was like, ‘Death to the American.’ It’s a completely different 180. They want you to die. They’re screaming. I’ve never been called a pussy or a bitch so many times in my life.”

Now, despite the weigh-in and fight day animosity, would Stamann want to compete again in Brazil?

“Hell yeah, I’d go back. Absolutely, I’d go back.”

There are a couple of things he would do differently: fly first class and bring more people with him, as opposed to just two.

“There were a couple of situations where I thought something was going to happen where I was like, ‘I don’t have enough people. There are a ton of them, there’s two of us. It was an uncomfortable feeling. Luckily, nothing ever actually did happen, but I’d bring 10 guys down there and I would fly first class.”

Stamann said he learned from his mistake in the Nurmagomedov fight in surviving Lacerda’s submission attempt. “The Spartan” has learned plenty of additional lessons as well during a three-fight skid that he believes made him a better fighter.

Stamann burst onto the UFC scene in 2017 with a shiny 17-1 record; his lone loss being a controversial split decision to Lawrence Diguilio that prevented him from entering the Octagon undefeated. He rose to the top-10 with wins over Terrion Ware, Tom Duquesnoy and Bryan Caraway. Everything was going right for Stamann entering a bout with now-champion Aljamain Sterling.

Stamann gave Sterling all he could handle in a high-paced back-and-forth round-and-a-half before Sterling pulled off a slick Suloev stretch. Stamann rebounded with wins over Alejandro Perez and Brian Kelleher, with a draw against Song Yadong sandwiched between in a bout many thought Stamann won.

Stamann then dropped three straight to Jimmie Rivera, Merab Dvalishvili and Nurmagomedov.

No. 3 Dvalishvili is currently preparing for a bout with No. 2 Petr Yan after Dvalishvili beat Jose Aldo. Again, Stamann came close to defeating a top contender, but Dvalishvili earned the decision win.

Knowing he can beat the top fighters in the world is the motivational force driving Stamann, as it led to him TKO’ing Eddie Wineland in less than a minute and then besting Lacerda.

“Despite falling flat on my face, I’ve now dusted myself off, and I’m standing tall again,” Stamann said. “My goal never wavered. No matter what happened in previous fights, I know I can compete with the best guys in the world. I know, as a competitor, as a man, I’m elite and that I belong amongst those people. Those are the people I’m meant to compete against. I shot to the top when I first got into the UFC, and I literally stumbled all the way back down the hill. I’m at the bottom of the hill again with a lot more experience, knowledge, fighting ability, and I’m ready to f—ing climb that hill again. Except I know where the pitstops are. I know where the traps are. I’ve made mistakes, and I’m not going to make them again.”

The only question is which weight class will Stamann looking to climb back to the top of? Bantamweight or featherweight?

Just days after his fight, Stamann has already got back to a clean diet. He plans to portion control, as well as cut out seed oils, gluten, and other things he knows aren’t good for him. He also plans to force himself to run three to five miles every day. Those lifestyle changes, he hopes, will get his weight to a more manageable spot where he is not cutting to 135 from the mid-150s anymore during fight week.

If the plethora of Stamann’s planned lifestyle changes don’t get him to his target weight, however, he said he will “100 percent” go to 145 – the weight class where he beat Kelleher.

“This fight in Brazil was an absolute blessing because the fights were so late,” Stamann said. “It took me a long time to rehydrate. It took me all of 24 hours or more to get back to even and not even really feeling good. I needed the full 36 hours that I had to get back to a place where I felt like I could compete. It was a blessing I had that much time, but I know I’m not going to have all that time in the future.”

Between the Wineland fight in June and the Lacerda fight, Stamann said he got bigger. He feels he has to lose muscle to make future weight cuts manageable – not that he would ever quit on himself.

“Mentally, I can do it. I can push through it. I can get it done. I know that when it comes to a weight cut, I’m a f—ing warrior. I won’t quit on myself mentally. Also, that kind of toughness is a detriment. Yeah, sure, I can get the weight off, but I’m not right … I have to find a better way to do this or I have to go up. There are no other options.”

Whichever weight class “The Spartan” picks, his goal remains the same: climbing the mountain back to the top, where he’ll clash with the caliber of opponents he knows he should be competing against.

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!

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