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Growing Confidence: UFC 154's Sam Stout on evolving his skills, John Makdessi and more

At UFC 154, Sam Stout will walk to the Octagon for the fourteenth time in his illustrious mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Days before his fight against John Makdessi, Stout spoke with Mike Bohn for about his evolution as a fighter, Makdessi and much more.

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Sam Stout is one of the longest serving lightweights on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster, dating back to his debut with the organization in March 2006. "Hands of Stone" has fought many of the top mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in the world under the UFC banner and later tonight (Nov. 17, 2012) at UFC 154 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Ontario native will continue his tough schedule as he takes on John Makdessi.

Stout enters the fight coming off a victory over Spencer Fisher this past Summer. The bout was the cultivation of a trilogy between the two scrappers, which Stout edged out by a score of 2-1. In the fight, the Canadian showed his skillset is diversifying when he took down "The King" on multiple occasions with his improved wrestling.

The fight proved Stout is more than just a talented striker, helping the 28-year-old build confidence unlike ever before. With three victories in his past four fights inside the Octagon, Stout wants to continue to surprise fans this evening at the Bell Centre.

Check out the interview with Stout below:

Mike Bohn: How'd your preparation for this fight go?

Sam Stout: It's gone well, it's been great. I've had a fantastic camp, everything's gone according to plan, no injuries, everything -- got a great gameplan put together for this fight, had great sparring partners, great training so, it's all good.

Mike Bohn: It's an interesting match up here with John Makdessi. You won your last fight and he is coming off two straight losses. What do you think about the match up the UFC went with because usually they don't put a fighter coming off a win against a fighter coming off a loss?

Sam Stout: I was kind of surprised that was the fight they wanted and, you know, it makes it a dangerous fight for me. You know I'm sure John's -- he's got his back to the wall, he needs to fight hard so he can keep his job so, I'm expecting him to come into this fight in really good shape and with a lot of intensity, so I'll have my work cut out for I'm sure.

Mike Bohn: Those two losses he did have there was extra circumstances around those. The fight with Dennis Hallman, Hallman came in way over weight so he was hard to deal then in his next fight Makdessi missed weight. Do you factor that in when you look at those fights and prepare for him?

Sam Stout: Not really. I don't think -- missing weight that's, I don't know. I'm sure; it's hard to really say. I've never done it, I've never missed weight, I've never, so I don't really know how that effects you. It goes to show you right there. Hallman missed weight and won, Makdessi missed weight and lost so who knows how much that really comes into play.

Mike Bohn: You're definitely two of the most dynamic strikers in the lightweight division. Do you see this fight playing out entirely on the feet?

Sam Stout: I think it's going to be mostly on the feet, we're both strikers, we both come from different striking backgrounds and I think it's going to be a very interesting striking match up, but I plan on mixing it up on him and, you know, keeping him guessing the whole fight.

Mike Bohn: You did that in your last fight [kept your opponent guessing]. Is that kind of the evolution of Sam Stout at this point? Trying to incorporate your wrestling more?

Sam Stout: That's the name of the game. If you're not getting better and improving and evolving all the time then it makes you really easy to train for and it makes, you know, and you're not going to make it far in this sport. This sport doesn't allow you to be one-dimensional so, you know, I plan on getting in there and show I've evolved as a fighter.

Mike Bohn: He's one of the shorter lightweights. Does that make it difficult to prepare for at all? Shorter guy, taller guys, what do you prefer? Or do you care?

Sam Stout: It gives me a little reach advantage, but yeah it does pose its own challenges. I've tried to bring in sparring partners close to his size and his body type. I think I'll be prepared for it.

Mike Bohn: If you could say one thing about your game that's improved the most since your last fight what would it be?

Sam Stout: Probably my wrestling. Yeah, my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu has come a long ways, so, you know, now that I went out and put it into practice in my last fight it's given me some confidence in it.

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