If you want to test how strong a bond is before marriage, break it in order to step into the Octagon.
That’s exactly what Jeremy Stephens did ahead of his UFC 215 fight against Gilbert Melendez, postponing his wedding last weekend to have as much time for preparation as possible.
“Of course, she supported me 100 percent,” Stephens told MMA Fighting of his fiancee. “And you know, it may cost a little bit more for the wedding, but this is something I definitely wanted to do.”
It will be the first time stepping into combat for Stephens since April, when he lost by split decision to Renato Moicano. He’s lost his last two bouts, having last claimed victory via decision over Renan Barao back in May 2016.
Both men are experienced veterans of the sport, so getting up for a big-time fight won’t take much convincing.
“He knows what he’s getting,” Stephens said. “It’s not like you have to look this up through YouTube. We’ve both been around a long time, he’s been a fan of me, I’ve been a fan of him, we’re great exciting fighters. I feel like I’ve evolved with the new age, I’ve adapted to these top guys at 145 pounds. He’s in new territory and he’s gotten older.”
Melendez has gone through a losing rough patch as well, having lost three consecutive bouts, with his last taking place against Edson Barboza in July 2016. The last time he claimed victory came back in October 2013 at UFC 166 against Diego Sanchez, which won Fight of the Year honors.