"I had told my manager I wanted the summer off because I had fought 14 times in the last 20 months and the average fighter only competes 3 or 4 times a year. He then called on Sunday the 27th and asked if I would be interested in fighting in the UFC and I could not believe my dream had come true. It still feels like a dream that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around. I don’t think I will be able to until I get in the octagon and get tagged a few times.... [Ben] is good at striking and ju-jitsu and my ju-jitsu and Muay Thai are good but wrestling is my strongest skill and I feel his weakest. Saunders I think is a good match up for me. He has the height advantage and has had months to prepare to my 12 days, but I’m stronger and my wrestling gives me a strategic advantage. The great thing about wrestling is that I can out there and try and take him down and knock him out. If I feel he is getting the better of me striking or if I get hurt, I feel I can easily take him down to protect myself. If the situation is reversed, the ability to take him down becomes a strategy for me which limits him to striking as a way to defend himself. In a lot of ways, it’s like a chess match."
-- Ryan Thomas -- a 23-year-old part-time student at Eastern Illinois University -- talks to the Commercial-News about getting the last minute call to take on Ben Saunders at UFC 87: "Seek and Destroy" on August 9. With Jared Rollins hurt, Thomas has just 12 days to prepare for the biggest fight of his career to date. Talk about stepping up to the plate.