Monday, November 22, 2010

Could Din Thomas Return to the UFC as a Featherweight?

Din Thomas has managed to avoid the MMA radar for some time now. At one point, Thomas looked to be a potential contender in the UFC's lightweight division. Between 2006-2007 the American Top Team member pulled off three consecutive wins over tough competitiors Clay Guida, Rich Clementi, and Jeremy Stephens. However, unable to maintain the streak, Thomas dropped two in a row, falling to Kenny Florian and Josh Neer before receiving his pink slip from Zuffa. Since then, Thomas has collected three straight victories as a free agent featherweight on the pro circuit.

Florida-based Thomas did receive some attention when he signed with startup promotion Shine Fights earlier this year. Din was slated to face the always controversial former WBC welterweight boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga in what was properly marketed as a "boxing-vs-MMA" showdown. The bout, which gathered massive attention from both the boxing and mixed martial arts communities, was stopped dead in it's tracks when boxing promoter Don King filed an injunction to stop the fight within days of the event. In the interim, Thomas has taken to a career in acting, appearing in independent films. But, a September interview by Matthew Kaplowitz, better known as "The Fight Nerd," at the UFC Fan Expo in Boston tells that Din Thomas is still on the market for cagefighting, and is very much seeking a return to the big stage. In the interview, Thomas mentioned talks with WEC matchmaker Shawn Shelby:

"I just got done talking, in fact moments ago, Shawn Shelby walked by and me and him -- we had words. So, I'm talking to Shawn Shelby right now about the WEC. So, hopefully next year we can do something with WEC, and I can get a good run for that title. You know, because nobody's been able to give Jose Aldo a good run for that title..."

Considering Din Thomas' WEC pursuits and the recent WEC-UFC merger, where does that place Din Thomas? Well, for now it is safe to assume that Thomas, like other WEC prospects, is at least temporarily stuck in scouting limbo. Of course, that's only if his prospective WEC entrance was taken seriously at all. Still, the numbers do not lie -- the fact stands that Din Thomas is currently 3-0 as a featherweight. A versatile jiu jitsu fighter with a progressively improving stand-up game, Thomas could make a showing in the UFC's new 145 lb. weight class. Or, now that Shine Fights has announced a deal in the works with a cable network, maybe Din will not have to move to find "big stage" work. So, someday we could see Din Thomas return to the Octagon as a competitive featherweight, but until then we'll have to wait on UFC scouts to catch on.

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