Looking to Shine: An interview exclusive with Din Thomas


"Anything you can think of that can happen in an MMA fight, I’m gonna do. At the end of the day, Ricardo Mayorga’s gonna be sitting, looking up at the lights. And I’m gonna stand over him and he’s gonna think I’m God."

After accumulating wins over Rich Clementi, Clay Guida, and Jeremy Stephens in a seven month span between 2006 and 2007, Din Thomas’ future in the UFC lightweight division appeared to be a bright one. However, after dropping two consecutive fights in a row (including a loss to Kenny Florian) Thomas received his walking papers.

Since being cut from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Thomas has wasted no time in making changes to put his career in the right direction once again.

“Dinyero” made the move from lightweight to featherweight after his loss to Josh Neer at “Ultimate Fight Night 13” and has put together a nice two fight winning streak in his newfound weight class.

Thomas is looking for continued success against solid competition at featherweight, as the American Top Team member has signed with the promising promotion, Shine Fights.

Shine Fights is set to put on an event in March of next year, and though Thomas’ opponent is not official yet, “Dinyero” hopes he can have the responsibility of welcoming former WBA and WBC boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga into the cage.

Mayorga recently signed with Shine Fights, and Thomas believes that he should be the main to represent the mixed martial arts against the Nicaraguan boxer. In fact, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt believes his boxing may be even better than Mayorga’s.

However, in March of next year, that will all be revealed if the mixed martial artist and the boxer can agree on a fight contract, as a bout between boxing and mixed martial arts could take place at Shine Fights third ever event in its young history.

Thomas took time out to share his thoughts on boxers trying to make a move to MMA, how he sees his fight with Mayorga ending and why he thinks Shine Fights is worth your attention.

Check it out.

Nate Lawson ( What motivated you to sign with Shine Fights?

Din Thomas: You know, it’s a good promotion starting up. They had a show, ‘ATT vs. The World’. You know, it kind of made sense for me to go sign with them. They’re doing big things and I’ve already looked at the card for March. They’ve got a lot of good fighters on there, and for me it’s important for a show to be run professionally, and they seem to be going in the right direction; the same direction that I’m going in. So I’m happy about it. What can I say?

Nate Lawson ( Well you’ve already said who you want to fight in your debut and it’s Ricardo Mayorga. What makes you want to fight him so much?

Din Thomas: You know, I’ve called out boxers before. And again, I think this is one of those thing that kind of makes sense in line with what I’m doing. I’ve called out boxers before. They’ve been very outspoken about how MMA guys are just wild brawlers, and some of them have even been more derogatory than that. So I feel like now that we have probably one of the most highest level boxers to make the crossover, and who is relatively not so far out of his prime, I feel like this is a good opportunity for me to showcase my skills and to represent MMA fighters to the fullest. I’ve signed with them. You know, he’s signed with them, I’ve signed with them. Let’s make it happen. If boxers want to step up and do something, I’m the go-to-guy. Let’s make it happen.

Nate Lawson ( What do you think in your game has made you so successful against heavy-hitters and good boxers? For instance, your win over Jeremy Stephens.

Din Thomas: Well one, I understand boxing. I’m not really sure why I understand it, but I understand boxing. I’ve always been natural at it and since I’ve been working with a lot of good boxers, good coaches, Howard Davis Jr., they’ve opened my eyes up to even more of the sweet science. So I understand boxing and I think, especially with a fight against Mayorga, I think that I’m a better boxer than he is. I don’t even see his hands as being a problem for me.

Nate Lawson ( There has been a lot of talk about MMA vs. Boxing, and now we are seeing boxers make the move over to mixed martial arts. Do you believe the majority of boxers who do try out mixed martial arts will have success?

Din Thomas: It’s hard to say. They really gotta do their homework, and it depends. Can these guys do their homework and develop the skills? There’s a couple boxers that I really think could make the transition, Mayorga being one of them. Essentially, the way he boxes isn’t much different than a lot of MMA guys. It’s the matter of, can he withstand the pressure that MMA guys go through?  And dealing with the rounds is a little bit different. I mean, if you are used to going three minute rounds, by 3:30 in, you start to fade a bit because you’re used to taking a break. So I don’t know if a lot of boxers are going to be able to make that transition without the proper preparation. If they can make the proper preparation or have some background and some of the aspects of fighting, say wrestling or jiu-jitsu, they may be able to make the transition. But boxing alone ain’t gonna do it.

Nate Lawson ( Now on the flipside, do you think any mixed martial artists could make the transition over to boxing successfully? For instance, Anderson Silva has mentioned numerous times how he would like to box Roy Jones Jr.

Din Thomas: Well now that fight doesn’t seem as compelling as it did when he first mentioned it. But I do think…it’s still hard to say.  You know, Roy has lost a lot. And I don’t mean just like lost a lot of fights. He’s lost a lot of his natural ability. That’s just with age and with time, and he’s been knocked out a few times so his chin’s a little bit deteriorated. So obviously it is easy to say that Anderson could do some damage to him and he probably could. Anderson’s still relatively in his prime. He’s probably the best he’s ever been. I actually think Anderson would do well against a guy like Roy Jones Jr. right about this point in both of their careers.

Nate Lawson ( Now back to your career, you are on a two fight win streak with a submission win and a technical knockout. What is next for your career at 145 pounds if you can get a three fight win-streak going? Do you see a career with the WEC in your future?

Din Thomas: I don’t know. I don’t really look into that far. Who knows? I might. Like right now I’m just really interested in what Shine is doing. I’ve signed with them so right now I don’t really want to make any jumps. Right now I’m a Shine fighter. They’re the only company right now that I’m interested in and the only company right now that I’m interested in helping grow. So I’m not looking really right now into making a mark in the WEC, or Strikeforce, or any other organizations. Right now I’m with Shine. And I plan to shine on March 6 if everything goes well.

Nate Lawson ( Looking at your fighting record, you have fought some of the biggest names in the sport. How does that help you this far into your career? What edge in terms of experience does that give you?

Din Thomas: It does a lot for your confidence. When I first got into the game, the first time I fought Caol Uno I only had six fights. I went into that fight thinking, ‘Am I ready for this level? I don’t know if I can handle this type of fighter’. At the time he was one of the top guys at 155 (pounds) and I fought him. I lost the fight, but I did well. And then after that, just going through a whole career… I’ve done well. I can’t say that I’ve won all of them. I didn’t lose all of them. But I’ve done well. I’ve never really gone into a fight thinking, ‘Am I at that level?’ I know I’m at that level. In fact, I’m at the top of that level. So for me, as long as I’m on my A-game, ain’t nobody gonna stop me.

Nate Lawson ( Since making the transition from 155 to 145 pounds, what differences have you seen in your game?

Din Thomas: I think the difference in my game now at 145 is the opponents are a little bit different to deal with. It’s not so much with my game because my game always kind of stays the same. My opponents are different. It’s not necessarily easier, it’s just a different type of game. Even dealing with the difference, I’ve found the guys at 145 are a lot quicker and they don’t seem to get tired as easy. I found at 170 (pounds), the guys are bigger and I think, even at 155, their wrestling is better. So, for me, I’ve just had to make adjustments where I fought in each different level. And I think that at 145, the hardest thing for me was, especially dealing with 55’ers where it is just a tad bit slower, I think I just had to make adjustments to keep my speed up. And if I couldn’t keep my speed up to deal with these guys, at least slow them down a bit. So I think that was the biggest thing, the biggest adjustment in my game; either increasing my speed, or just trying to slow their speed down.

Nate Lawson ( How is training with American Top Team going, training with another 145 pounder, Mike Brown?

Din Thomas: That’s always a lot of fun. We pretty much go back and forth, you know? It’s funny, too, because you could go to the gym at any given day and see two high-caliber fighters going at it. Had we not been on the same team and our careers had been different, we could of fought in front of millions. But if you really want to see it, all you’ve got to do is come to Coconut Creek on a Tuesday or a Thursday at twelve o’clock and you could see us bang it out. Some days he has his way with me, and some days I do a little bit better and have my way with him, so it just depends on the day. It’s always a lot of fun. Mike is, in my opinion, still the top dog at 145. He didn’t have a good showing against Aldo. That’s just the name of the game. But I definitely think Mike is going to continue to do his thing. I don’t know if I wanna say come back, because I don’t think he went anywhere, but I definitely think Mike is still a top dog at 145 and he’s gonna prove it.

Nate Lawson (  March 2010 is when you are set to make your Shine debut if everything works out. Do you want to tell your fans what they can expect?

Din Thomas: I can tell one thing they can expect. They’re gonna expect a lot of action. In my opinion, I’m probably one of the most well-rounded guys around. In this day and age, everybody is well-rounded, but is everybody well-rounded at a high level? I’m one of the most well-rounded guys at a high level still in the game. I intend to prove it. You’re gonna see everything that I got. You’re gonna see hands flying. You’re gonna see feet flying. You know, submissions….anything you can think of that can happen in an MMA fight I’m gonna do. At the end of the day, Ricardo Mayorga’s gonna be sitting, looking up at the lights. And I’m gonna stand over him, and he’s gonna think I’m God.

Din Thomas would like you to check out “1001 Submissions” ( “Dinyero” would also like to thank his clothing company Strategy Fight Gear, and all of the American Top Teams.

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