“I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!” That is what Joe Stevenson hopes to be saying in his post-fight celebratory speech after he meets Australian-born George Sotiropoulos at UFC 110 in the land down under.
“Fighting an Australian in Sydney, obviously I don’t expect to get the biggest cheers of the night,” Stevenson said. “But hey, the fans have to do what they can do to help their guy George. That’s what home fans are supposed to do and I respect that.”
Stevenson has been one of the UFC’s more popular fighters since emerging on the Octagon scene as a contestant on “The Ultimate Fighter 2,” a tournament he went on to win relatively easily. Despite the lack of support he’s expecting inside the Acer Arena this weekend, Stevenson is looking forward to the challenge as the blueprint was laid out for him 15 years ago.
“Is it tough getting booed?” Joe Daddy asked. “I’ve been booed before, and I’ve won over crowds that started off booing me before too. I am looking forward to doing what ‘Rocky’ did when he went to Russia in ‘Rocky IV’ to fight ‘Drago’.
“The Russians all hated him when he walked in but he and Drago gave them so great a fight at the end they were chanting ‘Rocky, Rocky, Rocky.’ I am looking forward to hearing some “Joe Daddy, Joe Daddy, Joe Daddy” chants towards the end of the fight with George because I am expecting him to give me the fight of his life.”
However, unlike when Rocky invaded Russia to avenge Applo Creed’s death by taking down Ivan Drago in the 15thRound – winning over the partisan-crowd in the process – Joe Daddy faces a highly skilled Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt that has won five straight en route to an impressive 11-2 pro record.
“To the Australian fans, I’m sorry, but I am going to have to make you unhappy on [Saturday],” Stevenson matter-of-factly stated. “Nothing against George, he’s a good fighter and he will come again, but he is standing in the way of my second UFC title shot. I am looking for a dominating win here.”