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Despite draw, Cody Stamann feels he ‘set Song Yadong’s career back five years’

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Cody Stamann goes for a takedown on Song Yadong at UFC on ESPN 7 in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The draw column in Cody Stamann’s record is no longer empty, but as far as he’s concerned, he picked up one more “W” this past weekend.

At this past Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 7, Stamann battled Song Yadong to a majority draw in a fight that saw Song lose a point in the first round for an illegal knee. Two of the judges scored the first two rounds in Song’s favor, leading to a result that wasn’t satisfying for either man.

Stamann said in a post-fight interview that he was robbed and later spoke to MMA Fighting about his immediate reaction. When the draw was announced, Stamann didn’t initially appear to be upset, and he and Song’s respective teams were cordial with each other afterwards.

At the time, Stamann said it was easy to be calm because he assumed there had simply been a mistake.

“The first thing that went through my head was they messed up and accidentally took a point away from me,” Stamann said. “That was what I was thinking when they said 28-28 and then 28-28, I’m like, ‘Hold on, wait. Oh s*it. They messed up. The points are wrong. They made a mistake. The points are wrong.’ That’s what was going through my head because I’m like, ‘There’s no way I’m getting screwed right now.’

“I didn’t know what to think. I was just so shocked and at that point I was still hopeful that they were gonna turn it around. I shook Song Yadong’s hand and I was like, by the time I make it back to my dressing room they’re gonna tell me that they made a mistake, this is gonna be corrected, (and) it’s gonna be fine. Then when I was in the back, we got a look at the scorecards, and I’m like, ‘I just got f*cked. I just got f*cked.’ Then I was f*cking irate, pissed. If the camera would have been on me then, you would have seen a different viewpoint.”

The 30-year-old bantamweight fumed backstage, but he composed himself quickly and took care of post-fight responsibilities. His manager would later tell him that the judges responsible for the two 28-28 scores had never worked a UFC event before and had close to zero experience overseeing any level of MMA.

Even knowing this, Stamann is still mystified as to how they arrived at their conclusion.

“I understand now that they were strictly boxing judges,” Stamann said. “These guys had never actually judged an MMA fight before, which is f*cking insane, and it’s absurd that the D.C. athletic commission would even do that. So I guess maybe if they’re just looking at it strictly from a boxing standpoint, no grappling, no anything – still, the significant strike numbers are damn near even. It’s not like he walked me down the whole fight and I was running from him.

“If anything, I would say the striking was dead even, and then you factor in that I took him down twice. I can’t get on board. I would love to play devil’s advocate, but honestly, I felt the fight was closer before I went back and watched it again. After I went back and watched it again, then I was really upset with the judges’ scorecards.”

Cody Stamann and Song Yadong
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Stamann spoke to officials afterwards, and he says that matchmaker Sean Shelby was in agreement that he’d done enough to win the fight. He’s hoping that when it comes to future negotiations – his next opponent and signing a new deal or an extension – the UFC will view his performance against Song as a victory.

As it is, Stamann finds himself in limbo in the divisional standings due to the fact that he’s won enough to break into the contenders’ circle (as of this writing, Stamann is 10th in the official bantamweight rankings). But he hasn’t picked up a signature win or finish to vault him into the spotlight. He admits it doesn’t make a lot of sense for those ranked above him to give him the opportunity to take their spot.

“I’m a dangerous fight in the way that I can fight at long range and make things really, really ugly for ‘em, or I can take ‘em down,” Stamann said. “I don’t think I’m an ideal matchup for anybody in the top-10. I don’t have a ton of clout or hype, and I don’t have a million followers on Instagram, so is the juice worth the squeeze?

“If I’m looking at myself and I’m No. 6 in the world, or I’m No. 9, I don’t want to fight me. I’d rather fight someone with a huge name, like Cody Garbrandt or someone like that, someone that’s more established. If I’m gonna take that risk, I’d rather fight someone like that than someone like me.”

For Stamann, he believes most of the men he’s fought in the UFC were never the same after. He’s now halted winning streaks of Tom Duquesnoy, Alejandro Perez, and now Song. He also took Bryan Caraway’s top-10 spot after outpointing him in March of last year.

The scorecards may not have shown it, but Stamann is convinced that he sent Song back to the middle of the pack for the time being.

“I’ve actually destroyed people’s careers,” Stamann said. “I think I probably destroyed Alejandro Perez’s career. I think I just set Song Yadong’s career back five years. S*it, Tom Duquesnoy retired. Bryan Caraway is f*cking gone too. I’m the dark horse in this division.

“I’m really f*cking people’s lives up, because I think that a lot of guys think something different’s gonna happen in the cage with me, and then they get in the cage, their whole f*cking world gets turned upside down. They realize I’m one of the biggest, strongest bantamweights in the world, and when I grab a hold of them it’s a different feeling.”