Rony Jason on Jeremy Stephens: ‘One of us is going down’

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Rony Jason wants to make a statement when he meets Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 32.

Jason looked impressive after winning The Ultimate Fighter Brazil’s first season, finishing both Sam Sicilia and Mike Wilkinson, and he doesn’t expect his upcoming fight to go to the judges either on Nov. 9 in Goiania, Brazil.

"Jeremy Stephens is a tough opponent," Jason told MMAFighting.com. "He started in the UFC one year after I started fighting MMA, so it’s great that I have the opportunity to fight him. This fight will put me among the tops in the UFC.

"I like his style, he’s a brawler like Chris Leben," he continued. "One of my inspirations is Chris Leben, I love his style and always watch his highlights. My style is similar to his, we are not afraid to stand and bang. One of us is going down. It’s going to be a great fight for the fans."

Jason and Stephens were originally set to fight on Oct. 9 at UFC Fight Night 29, but injuries forced the promotion to postpone the featherweight bout.

"I came to the gym to train wrestling and I felt my spine hurt," he said. "I went to the doctor and he said I had lumbar hernia, so he told me I should postpone the fight. It was better this way because I want to get there 100 percent."

Jason has won most of his fights via submission and he believes his ground game would probably be the best way to defeat Stephens. However, he won’t run away from "Lil' Heathen’s" heavy hands.

"My jiu-jitsu is better than his, his wrestling is better than mine, and our striking game is pretty even," he said. "According to my coaches, the best strategy is to take him down and go for the submission. I’m a jiu-jitsu guy and I will never forget that, but if I feel comfortable standing I will stay there. If he punches me I’ll try to give it back, even if my coaches tell me to go for the takedown."

The Brazilian has won eight in a row with seven finishes and he expects to fight a top-ranked opponent next to get closer to a shot at the UFC title.

"There are a lot of great fighters in this division, but I’ll do my best to earn a shot at the title one day," he said. "I know I will have the UFC title in my house."

With Diego Brandao vs. Dustin Poirier set for UFC 168, Jason expects to coach the next season of TUF Brazil with Brandao next year.

"I won the first season of TUF Brazil and he was the first Brazilian to win a TUF season in the United States, so it would be interesting to see which TUF is the toughest," he said. "I would try to knock him out, man. He’s very explosive, so I would hold him in the first round and then go for the finish."

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