UFC lightweight Sam Stout and his team have been in search of the right man for the job since the passing of their head trainer Shawn Tompkins in August 2011, and the Canadian has finally found a suitable replacement.
Stout (Twitter: @SammyJstout) defeated Spencer Fisher at UFC on FX 4 in an bout that finalized a trilogy between the two 155-pound combatants. Stout was victorious in two of their three meetings and he dubbed the bouts as one of the defining moments of his career.
Stout beat Fisher, but not in the typical fashion a Team Tompkins competitor does. The Canadian sprinkled in takedowns with his lethal kickboxing, something not often seen from the mixed martial artists that belong to the Adrenaline camp. Stout accepted that his style of competing may have become predictable, therefore a change was in order heading into the third contest against Fisher.
And the change that it is here to stay.
“I can’t get away with being so one dimensional anymore,” Stout told MMADieHards.com. “My wrestling and takedown defense has always been good, and really, I’ve always had those takedowns in my back pocket. It’s just been a mental block for me to not go out and use them. Having a fight where I go out there and take someone down a few times is a big step for me and now I’m not going to feel awkward doing it. I’m not going to hesitate as much when I see an opening for a takedown, I’m just going to make it part of my game plan in every fight. That way I’m a lot more difficult to train for.”
Though, Stout has an adequate wrestling pedigree, his jiu-jitsu skills are on par with his colleagues, as well. Fans won’t see Stout in the ADCC’s any time soon, but that does not mean he lacks submission offense and defense.
It’s just the attire worn by a traditional jiu-jitsu player that makes him avoid the BJJ gyms and acquire a belt in the martial art.
“No way, to get a belt you got to have a Gi,” Stout said. “I’ve never worn a Gi in my life. It’s something I’ve thought about, but I’m more of a no Gi kind of guy. I don’t really need a belt to be confident. I think about it sometimes, but I’ve never actually taken the steps to do it.”
The victory over Fisher marked the first win from the Adrenaline team since the passing of Tompkins.
Tompkins’ main three guys are Stout, UFC featherweight Mark Hominick and Bellator lightweight Chris Horodecki. None of them have won a fight since the demise of their late coach, and Stout picking up the first victory since the tragic loss of Tompkins has boosted the morale in the gym.
“It was on all of our minds,” Stout said. “There was a rough streak between Shawn’s three core guys – Me, Mark and Chris- and nobody has won since he passed, so it was definitely getting a little stressful on us. Everyone was happy that I got the first one and they both acknowledged it to me that it was nice to get this first one out of the way. It takes a little heat off us.
“It was a matter of us finding a new rhythm without Shawn there, so I think that was an important win for all of us.”
Stout’s rhythm was found through his training partners and a new cornerman.
Stout trains daily with Hominick, Horodecki and the other formidable combatants at Adrenaline in London, Ontario. However, there are a few people that stand out in his preparations for his bout at UFC on FX 4. Carter Walls, who Stout credits for his superb strength and conditioning, Alex Gasson provided pad work for the UFC lightweight, Clint Kingsbury assisted in the wrestling department, and Roland Cunningham worked with him on his BJJ skills.
The biggest adjustment and improvement, Stout admitted, came from his new cornerman.
“With Mark DellaGrotte in my corner for that last fight it was a big confidence boost,” Stout said. “I think that’s all it is. It’s just finding that confidence that Shawn used to give us, but with a new coaching staff.
“Me and DellaGrotte have been friends for a while. I think the reason I was looking at him for a new trainer is because he and Shawn kind of have a similar style. They use a lot of similar techniques and they both come from similar backgrounds, so I thought it might be an easier transition to work with him and it was. He’s got some new tricks to teach me and I look forward to getting more time in with him. For that fight me and him worked together for not even a full week, so imagine what we could do with a full training camp. When you think about what me and him could do in a full camp together, people need to start worrying about me.”
Even though Stout has the momentum behind him from defeating Fisher, he doesn’t plan to head back into battle soon.
There is an event scheduled in Toronto, UFC 152, on Sept. 22. The city is about two hours from Stout’s hometown of London, Ontario. Nonetheless, the Canadian will not be looking to compete on that card. He is going to wait it out and attempt to get a slot on the following Canadian UFC card.
Stout is not neglecting the opportunity to compete, but would rather heal his injuries in the proper manner before testing his mettle again.
“I’ll probably try to get on the Montreal card in November,” Stout said. “I’ve been fighting for a long time now and injuries are starting to catch up with me. I like to give myself some time in between (fights). I like to give my head a break. I don’t spar for a month after a fight, I don’t do any contact training, but I might do some grappling a little bit. I often hear about people back in the gym the Monday after a fight and they’re not always doing themselves a favor.”
As anxious as Stout is to get back into the cage, his summer is already filled up with plans.
On Aug. 26 Stout will take part in the Tompkins Memorial Golf Tournament at the Fire Rock Golf Club in Komoka, Ontario. The affair is open to anyone who would like to play and information can be found at Adrenaline. A large portion of the proceeds will be donated to charities that Tompkins was affiliated with, as well as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, as a heart condition is what was responsible for the taking of Tompkins’ life.
Stout will always be a Team Tompkins fighter, through and through, but his career must continue. The unfortunate loss of his coach has sparked Stout to find a new coach, and he is confident that cornerman has arrived.
“Having Mark DellaGrotte in my corner was a big help,” Stout said. “He was the right man for the job.”