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MMA For Real Exclusive Interview with Noah Thomas

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Most MMA fans will remember Noah "The Red" Thomas (13-4) as the soft spoken Marine that competed on season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter. The 28-year-old fighter from Fort Collins, Colorado lost his first round match on the show against eventual runner-up Manny Gamburyan. Thomas viewed the reality show as an opportunity to catapult his MMA career to the next level. However, one bad decision resulted in his being removed from the show. He and fellow cast member Marlon Sims were both kicked off the show after getting into an impromptu fight one evening during filming. Although Noah competed for a UFC contract on the show at 155 pounds, he has since dropped down to his natural fighting weight of 135 pounds. He is currently on a seven fight win streak and is beginning to turn the heads of many industry insiders that follow the Bantamweight division.

Rich Wyatt: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Tell our readers, if you will, a little about your years of service in the Marines.

Noah Thomas: Growing up, I had considered joining the Marines. I was rebellious as a kid and had really just found myself heading down the wrong path in life. I finally was faced with the choice to either keep going down that road or turn things around and make something of myself. Enlisting was the best thing that could've happened to me. At times I've felt like I missed out on some things while I was in, but looking back now I know that I've gained much more. I've had some cool life experiences that lots of people will never have. While some were partying in college, I was out there making something of my life. It's definitely what made me the man that I am today.

Rich Wyatt: Thank you for your service to our country. Did you begin any training there that would help prepare you for your future in the sport of MMA?

Noah Thomas: Well, I participated in a Marine Corps martial arts program. It gave me some very basic martial arts experience but the biggest thing that I got out of my years there was toughness. My time in the Corps instilled that "never-give-up" mindset. It really strengthened me and basically just made me meaner than hell.

Rich Wyatt: How did your participation on The Ultimate Fighter season 5 come about?

Noah Thomas: I had heard that they were holding tryouts for season 5 so I got some cash together and my coach and I went to the tryout. Luckily, I was one of the few guys selected out of hundreds that tried out. I didn't feel like I ever got to really show the viewers my personality, but that was one of the things that they liked about me at the tryouts.

Rich Wyatt: What was the experience of being on "The Ultimate Fighter" like for you?

Noah Thomas: Even though I was competing at two classes above my natural fighting weight, I felt like it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.  I really feel that it was a good experience for me overall and I enjoyed it.

Rich Wyatt: If you had it to do all over again, would you have handled the Marlon Sims situation differently?

Noah Thomas: The thing is, at that time we had destroyed the fireplace in the house and I was the only guy that really knew how to make a fire. So they woke me up and I came outside and started the fire. So now here I am sitting out there with these drunk guys. In hindsight, I probably should have just made the fire and gone back to bed. I know I should've walked away from the confrontation but at the time I kind of felt like I was defending myself. I know now that Marlon dumping me out of my chair wasn't as harsh as I thought it was at the time. I would've handled it differently if I could go back. But at the same time I wasn't a Junie Browning, you know? I'm a professional and try to conduct myself as a pro. I don't want to be classified as a Junie or Rob Browning. I wasn't a guy that was on the show getting drunk or causing problems for everybody. I never want to do anything to reflect poorly on the sport.

Rich Wyatt: Do you still stay in contact with any of the other contestants or coaches from that season?

Noah Thomas: I still talk to some of the guys from the show: Rudy Valentino, Joe Lauzon, Gray, Cole, Rob, Brandon Melendez. Joe Lauzon has cornered me for a couple of fights.

Rich Wyatt: You've now won two titles in your last two fights and it has been reported that you are scheduled to compete on an upcoming Bellator event. Do you have a fight scheduled with them?

Noah Thomas: I'm actually in negotiations with different organizations right now and we're trying to iron out the details. As soon as I've finalized where I'll be fighting next I will definitely let MMAForReal be the first to know.

Rich Wyatt: Are there any Bantamweights in particular that you'd like to fight before you're done?

Noah Thomas: Joseph Benavidez is one guy. He just recently won a decision against Jeff Curran. I think that a fight with him would be a good challenge for me.

Rich Wyatt: If you ever do end up in the WEC, would you be interested in fighting Manny Gamburyan again at 145?

Noah Thomas: I definitely want to stay at 135. It's the perfect weight for me. Manny can take his road and I'll take mine. He's actually come and trained with me at my gym.

Rich Wyatt: As a fighter that competes in the Bantamweight division, how much has it meant for you to see promotions like Bellator and WEC offering such great opportunities for lighter weight fighters to compete?

Noah Thomas: I think it's been very important. It used to be 155 or nothing for the smaller fighters and now guys in the 145 pound and 135 pound divisions are getting the chance to compete and show their stuff. We don't have to put on the extra weight anymore to compete at 155 and get outmuscled against naturally larger opponents.

Rich Wyatt: Most of your 13 victories are by submission. Do you focus most of your training time on submissions or do you devote an equal amount of time to the other facets of the game?

Noah Thomas: I do it all in training. If you look at my record, I was knocking guys out early but lately I have more wins by submission. Lots of times I hurt guys with strikes and then take whatever submission is there. I don't fuck around in there. I get after it. If you'll notice, most of my fights end in the first round and all of my wins have come by either submission or knockout. No decisions.

Rich Wyatt: Where are you currently training?

Noah Thomas: I'm training out of Loveland, Colorado at Infinite Mixed Martial Arts Academy. Adam Martinez is my trainer.

Rich Wyatt: Is there anything that you'd like to say in closing?

Noah Thomas: I'd like to thank all of the fans for their support. I'd also like to thank some of my sponsors: Tapout, Jitz, PerformanceMMA.com, MMA Stop, 951 Fight Gear and Stroker Industries.

MMAForReal.com thanks Noah Thomas for taking the time to speak with us and we wish him the best in his upcoming fights.