Cody Stamann knows there’s a lot of pressure on him heading into Saturday’s bout with Said Nurmagomedov.
The bantamweight tilt takes place on the main card of UFC 270 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Stamann enters the fight in unfamiliar territory after dropping consecutive losses to Jimmie Rivera and Merab Dvalishvili, which have turned his first appearance in 2022 into a potential do-or-die scenario.
“You definitely feel like your nuts are against a saw, and you either have to pull them off, or you’re getting your nuts cut off. That’s how I would describe that feeling,” Stamann told MMA Fighting on We Got Next. “I just never imagined that this would be where I was in MMA. My decisions have led me to this point, and it’s on me to step up and make this sh*t happen to make sure I have a job on the 23rd.
“I’m no stranger to the pressure inside the cage. I’ve dealt with some heavy sh*t and had great performances before. I feel like this is a different load, but it’s also a huge load, and in those circumstances, that’s when I tighten sh*t up and the best version of myself comes out. I think that’s what will happen this weekend.”
Stamman’s opponent, Nurmagomedov, returns to the octagon for the first time since stopping Mark Striegl in under a minute at UFC Fight Island 6 in October 2020. The 29-year-old is 3-1 in his four promotional appearances, with his lone loss coming to Raoni Barcelos.
As far as strength of schedule goes, Stamann — who has faced ranked competition throughout most of his UFC run — believes there is no comparison.
“Stylistically, fighting a guy with four UFC fights is a gift,” Stamann said. “I don’t want to say that cliché thing where I’m on a different level than him, because who knows if that’s true. In regards to experience and guys that I’ve fought, I am on a different level than him. I’ve been in there with the best. I know what they offer. Said doesn’t. Either he’s going to be everything people think he is and I’m going to have my hands full, or he’s going to realize that somebody with as much UFC experience as I have makes for a really tough night.
“I’m pretty confident heading into this fight, but I’m not dull to the fact that he’s a bad dude and has some dangerous weapons.”
Betting lines heading into the fight see Nurmagomedov is a pretty sizable favorite, but Stamann is no stranger to proving the oddsmakers wrong.
“Every single fight I’m the underdog,” Stamann said. “If I was looking at this card and I was picking fights where I can potentially win some money, my fight would jump off the card at me. This guy’s been in there with the best in the division, while [Nurmagomedov] is relatively untested with four [UFC] fights. When I look at Said, and I look at him completely unbiased, I watched him fight Justin Scoggins and I thought Scoggins beat him clearly. I didn’t think it was close. And then Scoggins got robbed and was cut, and I was so confused.
“When I look at Said, I look at him like he’s 2-2 in the UFC. He’s never fought someone in the rankings. The oddsmakers never give me any respect, so this isn’t something that’s new or foreign to me.”
With the pressure he has put on himself for UFC 270, Stamann believes that is where his A-game comes out. He plans to show that and make sure his job is 100-percent safe.
“Honest to God, I think I can land that big shot,” Stamann stated. “I know I can hurt him, and if he falls, that’s up to him. But based upon what I’ve seen him do, I really think I can hit him with those big shots, and if I need to, I know I can take him down and make this hell for him. That’s not the fight that I want to fight, but if I have to, I will hug that motherf*cker for 15 minutes and ride him like a horse.
“One way or another, I have to get my hand raised. That’s where we’re at. My nuts are real close to a bandsaw and I just want this feeling to go away.”