A longtime member of American Top Team, Thomas first fought for the UFC in June of 2001 against future UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn at UFC 32.
During his UFC career, Thomas earned victories over Fabiano Iha, Matt Serra, Rich Clementi, Clay Guida and Jeremy Stephens respectively. Din also holds a victory over former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, whom he defeated via submission (Heel Hook) during an MMA event held in August of 2000.
Din Thomas announced his retirement via social networks, his words:
UFC 168, Weidman vs Silva, could have driven the last nail in the coffin of any idea that anybody from my era could still be champion. Anderson Silva failed to re-claim his title after suffering the 2 [worst] losses of his career to the undefeated Chris Weidman. Whether Silva manages to ever return to the Octagon or not, this fight was career ending. Josh Barnett, our last heavyweight hopeful was unsuccessful at moving closer to owning the UFC heavyweight title that he once owned. His plans were foiled by Travis Browne. This trend is not necessarily a testament of the evolution of the new UFC athlete, but provides further evidence that my colleagues from the Golden Age of MMA are now of the “Olden Age” of MMA.
Despite the sorrow that this harsh reality brings to me, any relevant fighter from the 90s, or the old-school, genuine fans that supported us, it certainly brings comfort to my decision to officially retire over this monumental weekend. I suppose, misery does love company.
Yet instead of pondering over “what ifs”, “should’ves”, and “could’ves”, I appreciate and celebrate my time spent, devotion given, and influence I had on MMA. Fighting BJ Penn at the Meadowlands at UFC 32 in the UFC’s first show on Pay Per View since it had been banned for years, was an immeasurable experience. Being a part of the first ever sanctioned UFC fight in Las Vegas history against Fabiano Iha at UFC 33 is something that only Mr. Iha and I can claim (Dana White later joked to me that UFC 33 was the event that made him want to kill himself). Being invited to participate on The Ultimate Fighter season 4: The Comeback was life changing and I met some of the greatest guys I’ve ever known. My list goes on…
Reminiscing over a professional MMA career that has spanned close to 15 years, I acknowledge that none of it could have been as meaningful or possible without Dan Lambert, Dana White, the Fertitta Brothers, Joe Silva, Burt Watson, and the UFC. Their work, dedication, and vision has impacted and shaped the evolution of MMA on every level worldwide.
As I move forward and pursue other avenues of life, I will continue to support the UFC and their new, evolved athletes like Tyron Woodley and Dustin Poirier, and of course, perhaps our last great promising title contender from the Golden Age, Robbie Lawler.
Din Thomas currently runs the very successful ATT gym in Port St. Lucie on Florida’s Treasure Coast. We here at bjpenn.com want to wish Din all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for all his contributions to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts!