UFC veteran Din Thomas plans to fight again in October. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Din Thomas has done almost everything there is to do in his professional mixed martial arts career, which dates back to October 1998.
He has fought eight times in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and holds wins over such notables as ex-UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, onetime UFC welterweight titleholder Matt Serra, former two-division Deep boss Dokonjonosuke Mishima and ex-Strikeforce lightweight champion Clay Guida. He was also a competitor on Season 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series.
Thomas has accomplished much in his long career, but it does not mean he is ready to hang up his gloves.
“There’s nothing left for me to accomplish,” Thomas told Sherdog.com. “I accomplished all of my goals years ago. Some people like to wake up every day and go play golf. I like to wake up every day and go fight. I train every day with boxing and things like that with my schools, but to be able to compete escalates those feelings even more. I don’t have any more goals. When you’re able to do something because you want to do it, it’s fun.”
Thomas (25-8) has not fought since January 2010, when he stopped Dustin Pague in the second round of a World Extreme Fighting event in Pittsburgh. He has won his last three bouts -- all of them finishes -- dating back to April 2008, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Josh Neer at UFC Fight Night 13 and received his walking papers from the promotion.
Since the win over Pague, Thomas had a scheduled match with former world boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga fall through on the day of the event. However, he has kept busy with other ventures. Thomas owns American Top Team satellite gyms in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Treasure Coast, Fla., and he runs the programs for another ATT gym in Longwood, Fla., as well.
“I basically have two and a half schools that I’m owning and operating,” said the 34-year-old Thomas. “It’s pretty time consuming. I’ve been doing commentary for some MMA events and [improvisational] comedy. I do the [comedy] as a hobby. If something were to happen with it, that would be great, but, really, it’s just something I like to do for fun. I’ve just been trying to enjoy life to the best of my ability. If it keeps a smile on my face, I’m going to do it.”
Fighting keeps a smile on Thomas’ face, and he will be re-entering the MMA fray sooner rather than later, as he has signed to fight in Florida in October.
“There’s no way I’m done fighting,” said Thomas, who holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Liborio. “I just signed a contract for a fight. I can’t give any details just yet because the organization wants to announce it, but it’s in October and it’s in Florida. It’s not a new organization. It’s relatively new, but people have heard of it. I’ve also signed for a fight in November, so I’ve got them coming up back-to-back. It’s in my blood, so I have to stay out there.”
Thomas -- who has moved down to featherweight after previously competing at 155 and 170 pounds earlier in his career -- has tested his skills against some of the sport’s most accomplished martial artists, including former two-division UFC champion B.J. Penn and two-time UFC lightweight title contender Kenny Florian. That experience, along with the day-to-day training at an elite camp like American Top Team, makes Thomas a difficult out for anyone he faces.
“Teaching and running the gyms really helps me get ready for fights,” he said. “I’m teaching and helping guys get ready for their fights, so I’m doing training-type things every day. I stay in shape getting other people ready for their fights. Now that I have fights coming up, I just have to pick up my intensity level and train with some different people to help get myself ready.”