One of the most vicious beatings in UFC history took place this past Saturday in Tampa as lightweight Thomas Gifford was beaten down to a pulp and then knocked out cold late in the third round by Mike Davis. It was an extremely controversial fight with many members of the MMA community expressing their displeasure for the referee and Gifford’s corner for not stopping the fight.
Gifford recently issued a statement saying that he’s fine and that he suffered no serious injuries despite taking such a brutal beating. Now he’s coming on the offensive against his critics, saying that they don’t know how tough he is and that he never questioned the referee or the corner’s decision to let him continue fighting.
Here’s what Thomas Gifford told TMZ.
“I really don’t care what they say. They ain’t been training with me, they ain’t been through my life. They don’t know what goes through my mind. They don’t know how I’ve been raised,” Gifford said. “I’ve been there before. I’ve been almost dead in the second round and I’ve come back in the third and just impressed everybody, and they was like ‘Whoa, there was no way that guy came back.’ That’s my life story. That’s always happened. My coaches know that. (Marc Montoya’s) seen me do it in the cage. He’s seen me do it in sparring rounds against Devonte Smith. It’s alright. I’m good, everybody knows it. My scans came back fine. I have no broken bones, I’m walking around. I may be bruised up and I look horrible, but that will all turn out. That will heal and that will all come right back to where I was before the fight even began.”
The interviewer from TMZ asked Thomas Gifford if he has considered retiring after suffering such a beating. He said no, and in fact he hopes to follow on the path of Yoel Romero and Rafael dos Anjos, fighters who were late bloomers.
“No, (retiring) never crossed my mind. It never will until I’m 40-years-old. I want another 13 to 15 years in this sport. I want to the next Yoel Romero. I want to be the old man kicking everybody’s butt and showing everybody what’s up,” Gifford said. “Everybody starts off rocky. I think it was Rafael dos Anjos, he lost his first two fights and he became a champion. I mean sure he lost it but he can come back. I mean he’s not that old, he can still do it and so can I.”
“The Young Lion” added that he intends to prove his doubters wrong.
“I’ve watched the video of the fight a million times. I don’t care. I went out on my shield. I done exactly what I said I was going to do. I may have been rocked at the beginning of the fight, but I’ve fought through adversity millions of times. This time I didn’t make it. They can doubt me all they want, but next time it will be different,” Thomas Gifford said.