It’s been nearly a year since Cody “The Spartan” Stamann was signed to the UFC roster and he has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Stamann’s first fight came on such short notice that he took on fellow bantamweight Terrion Ware at featherweight. He then he went on to take split decision victories over Tom Duquesnoy and Bryan Caraway, who was ranked seventh in the bantamweight division at the time. Now, a year later, with three wins in the UFC and ranked tenth in his division Stamann is able to reflect and enjoy what he has accomplished so quickly.
“It’s happened so fast that it’s hard to take myself out of that, go go go mindset and look at what’ve done in just a year.”
“It (Facebook) sent me a reminder, it was when I announced I was going to be in the UFC. I saw the message and saw what I wrote, about hard work, dedication and this and that. How I was going to take over the UFC, take over the division and all that stuff. It brought tears to my eyes. I said a year ago that I was going to be top ten within a year, then there I was, exactly one year later, in the position.”
“It’s crazy, it’s just surreal, it’s something I’ve always dreamed about, and now it’s happened, I’ve definitely had that moment.”
But Stamann hasn’t been able to enjoy the moment for too long as he has a fight set for September 8 at UFC 228 against eighth ranked Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling. This fight has been in the making for quite some time. The talk started on social media in May but Sterling dismissed the idea initially but at the 2018 World MMA Awards in July, Sterling called out Stamann, shortly afterwards, the fight was targeted and then made official.
The fight was picking up a bit of hype through the trash talk but Stamann wasn’t impressed with what Sterling had to say and since the fun was taken out of it, he decided to stop responding.
“It kinda played out, there’s nothing I can really say to the guy, his come backs are f**cking dull witted and it’s hard to banter with someone who calls you a dork and tells you to suck their you know what. How do I banter back and forth with something like that? He’s kinda killing it for me.”
“He can’t just shit talk and make the fight, which sucks, I thought he’d be the guy I could do that with.”
Stamann has been in a camp for a while as he was initially told he had another fight lined up for UFC 227 on August 4 but he discovered that the longer training camp has been beneficial, especially for his weight cut.
“Honestly, I think I’ll probably do nothing but 12-week training camps from now on.”
“My weight is a lot better than it usually is. It’s a big battle for me, I’m a big bantamweight, it’s the weight cut and getting on the right diet, getting my weight down early, I think it’s going to take a lot of stress off me come fight week, I’m super happy about that.”
Though he did say he is a big bantamweight, Stamann has no plans to move up to featherweight.
“I would fight at 45 but I think I’ll be most successful at 35.”
“I rather be a big bantamweight than a small featherweight.”
With his weight cut on point, Stamann is focused on his opponent, someone he believes he matches up very well with.
“There’s not really a place in the fight where I won’t be better and I won’t know what he’s got.”
“I’ll make the fight my fight.”
Sterling has faced the tougher competition in the UFC so far having faced top ranked fighters like Raphael Assuncao, Marlon Moraes and former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao. But they have had one common opponent in the UFC, they both faced long-time ranked fighter Bryan Caraway.
Sterling faced Caraway at UFC Fight Night 88 and lost a split decision. He did very well against Caraway in the first round before dropping the last two.
Stamann on the other hand dropped the first round to Caraway and was able to pick up the last two rounds on two of the three judges’ scorecards to pick up a split decision victory. In the fight, Stamann wasn’t as aggressive as he would’ve like to have been. He said he had to fight a very specific game plan against Caraway that didn’t allow him to get a highlight finish, but he believes Sterling’s style will allow him to through a few flashy techniques.
“Sterling is more of a runner, I think against a runner I’ll be available to do some cool flashy stuff that someone can put on a highlight reel and I’m really confident that I’m going to knock him out.”
In his post-fight interview after the Caraway fight, The Spartan said that he had trouble with his cardio towards the end of the fight. He explained to me that he tore cartilage along his ribs before the fight and wasn’t able to train properly. But for this fight, he believes he won’t have a problem with his cardio.
“I went into that fight pretty banged up, pretty injured. A lot of people wanted me to pull out, on my team, my coaching staff wanted me to pull out. But I was like, I can beat this guy on fifty percent, I know that. I went into that fight pretty banged up and was still able to pull out the win.”
“Like I said, it won’t be an issue, this time I’m healthy and ready to go.”
With a win over Sterling, who is currently ranked eighth in the UFC’s bantamweight division, Stamann will continue his climb up the rankings and face even tougher competition. He believes he is more than ready for that.
“I think I’m ready for those fights, I’m ready for that level of competition. I proved it by beating Bryan Caraway in my third fight in the UFC, there’s no UFC jitters anymore, I’m here and I just want to let people know someday I’m going to be champ.”
And it’s not just him who believes in his talent but one of his former opponents as well. Terrion “The Flash” Ware who faced Stamann at UFC 213 (both fighters’ UFC debuts) believes he is worthy of being a top five fighter in the UFC.
“I can see him going really far, I can see him competing even right now, right away in the top five.”
Providing he gets the win against Sterling and comes away healthy, the Spartan would like to get that next level fight before the year is over. He also wants to get all the fights he can in a quick amount of time because he plans on retiring at the age of 35.
“I think 35 is the cutoff, once you hit 35 your speed drops, you lose your agility, maybe you take a bunch of head shots. You get to the point you probably shouldn’t take anymore, so I’d like to be one of the guys to get the belt, make a little money, set yourself up for the rest of your life and move on, move on to something better.”
But before any of that takes place, Stamann is focused with the task at hand, which is Aljamain Sterling and he has a message for his foe.
“Aljamain Sterling, come ready to fight, I’m going to break you, I’m going to knock you out.”