Deron Winn made no secret that he wanted to fight English middleweight Darren Stewart, but “The Dentist” is confident that he will have the last laugh following the duo’s online back and forth in the lead up to their UFC on ESPN 6 clash.
“To him it’s trash talk, but to me it’s just banter,” Stewart told MMA Fighting.
“We all talked to each other like that when we were kids in school, so to me it’s just fun. Whether he takes it seriously, I don’t know, but I can’t just sit there and take it. In school, we had to be good at two things – fighting and cussin’. I feel like I’m killing him [in the back and forth], but he’s just a weird character, man.”
Stewart revealed that he stopped engaging Winn online after the American withdrew from their social media jousting for a couple of weeks.
“It’s a confusing one, because when the doors shut everyone is going to see you for who you really are. I was personally doing this for banter. He started it, I’ll finish it. I don’t really even hear from him anymore. At one stage, two weeks passed and he sent me, ‘Hey pea-head, I’m back now.’ From then on, I just ignored it because if he was going to start a cussin’ match he should’ve kept it going. He said he was on holiday, but I don’t get why you’d have to stop…it’s not work. For me, it’s always been pure banter.”
The former Cage Warriors fighter admits that he can relate to the confidence Winn has as an undefeated fighter.
“I can’t blame him because he’s from AKA, he’s unbeaten. I was like that when I was unbeaten. I wasn’t as arrogant, I was always humble, but there was a part of me that thought I was untouchable,” Stewart admitted.
“The difference between me and him is, when I felt as though I was untouchable, I had already been in wars. He hasn’t fought anyone like me and he hasn’t been in any wars. He’s talking about how he’s going to put me in deep waters, but if you’ve seen my fights I’ve been in loads of deep waters – I’ve been to hell and back. He’s only had six fights. The only deep waters he’s been in are in training situations and it’s not the same. He just beats people up, but he’s not going to be able to do that to me. If I get taken down, I don’t stay down. The people he’s fought just stay there and get beaten up. He’s just a joker.”
Although Winn has yet to taste defeat as a professional fighter, Stewart believes his height will give him a huge edge of the 5-foot-5 middleweight.
“I train with people that height. I might not train with people that are as high level in wrestling as he is, but [people that height] can’t get in on me. What is he 5-foot-5? I’ll stand in front of him and make him swing and miss. He has no options but to try and close that gap, but I’m so fast that by the time he closes that gap I’m gone. Everyone he’s fought has been the same height as me, I understand that, but they stood in front of him and didn’t use their feet. Even against Eric Spicely, when Spicely moved a bit, he was okay, but as soon as he planted his feet it was [Winn’s] time to shoot,” he said.
“Everyone is just getting hyped off his last fight where he threw the most significant strikes ever. But, I’m not being funny, he threw the most significant strikes and didn’t knock the guy down once. What does that tell you? I knocked Spicely down in the second round with a jab and I hadn’t even introduced sports science into my training at that point, I’m just a genetic freak. I’ve just got to keep him at range, he ain’t got no cardio at all. He’s never fought someone with my kind of movement.”