Jeremy Stephens made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2007 and has survived -- and even thrived -- at the top of the sport for more than a decade. Despite his ups and downs, the Alliance MMA rep has largely responded to whatever adversity has come his way and now finds himself on a two-fight winning streak.
Those back-to-back victories against Gilbert Melendez and Doo Ho Choi have placed Stephens in the UFC on Fox 28 main event, where he will take on Josh Emmett in a clash of two featherweight contenders this Saturday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Besting Emmett would allow Stephens to further build his case for an elusive title shot at 145 pounds.
Ahead of Stephens’ latest assignment, here are some of the numbers that have come to define him:
1.19: Takedowns landed per fight. According to FightMetric, Stephens executes on average one takedown every 15 minutes. It all serves to set up one of the sneakiest and most effective parts of his game: ground-and-pound.
3: “Knockout of the Night” bonuses earned. Before the UFC went with less-descriptive “Performance of the Night” awards, Stephens racked up a handful of “Knockout of the Night” bonuses. His finishes of Rafael dos Anjos, Justin Buchholz and Marcus Davis all put a little extra money in his pocket.
4: Losing streaks in the UFC. Stephens has suffered consecutive defeats inside the Octagon on four separate occasions. His longest drought was between June 4, 2011 and May 25, 2013, during which time he lost to Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone and Yves Edwards before finally returning to the win column against Estevan Payan at UFC 160.
5: “Fight of the Night” bonuses earned. Stephens has been involved in the “Fight of the Night” on five different occasions. Those fights came against Choi, Melendez, Renan Barao, Cub Swanson and Sam Stout.
10: Knockdowns landed at 145 pounds. Stephens ranks first all-time among featherweights in the category, ahead of Max Holloway (eight). His 17 total knockdowns -- they are spread between the featherweight and lightweight divisions -- tie him with Donald Cerrone for second on the all-time list. He trails only Anderson Silva (18).
579: Significant strikes landed as a featherweight, good for seventh all-time at 145 pounds. Holloway leads the pack with 1,213.