MMAMadness.com has learned that Joe Stevenson will be leaving Cobra Kai and head trainer Irvin Bounds to join Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Gaidojutsu School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Stevenson makes the decision as he faces a possible "must win" scenario to stay in the UFC when he takes on Nate Diaz on June 20.
“We both agreed it would be better if he moved on and try to change a little bit so he can continue to stay in the UFC,” Bounds said.
Stevenson won the Welterweight division of "The Ultimate Fighter: Season Two" after defeating Luke Cummo on November 5, 2005. He consequently received a contract with the UFC in the Lightweight division.
Stevenson’s next fight resulted in a surprising loss to Josh Neer at UFC Ultimate Fight Night 4. He rebounded to win his next four fights before losing three of his next four matches to B.J. Penn, Kenny Florian, and Diego Sanchez.
“Joe just basically wanted to make a change in his routine. He needs to be more isolated. He wants to completely be away to focus and train with some better people like St. Pierre and Rashad and push himself,” Bounds said.
Stevenson is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former college wrestler. The Greg Jackson camp trains such fighters as Georges St. Pierre, Rashad Evans, Nathan Marquardt, and Keith Jardine.
“Hopefully it works. I don’t see why it wouldn’t. He’s got all the players there. Greg Jackson is a great coach and he should be able to develop there and be a different Joe Stevenson,” Bounds said.
Article co-written with Brad Rysz.