UFC Hamburg’s Jeremy Kimball: “It’s just about letting myself have fun”

Going forward UFC light heavyweight Jeremy Kimball (15-7, 1-2 UFC) is trying to keep things simple. Over his three UFC appearances, Kimball has gone 1-2. Luckily, the 27-year-old suspects he has found the internal issue.

The Vermont-born Colorado resident, feels he has gotten away from what makes him successful. Instead of entering the octagon filled with mental positivity, “Grizzly” believes he has been too concerned with winning — or more accurately put “not losing”.

“I felt like [my back was against the wall] for a little bit, but I just try to stay out of that mindset,” explained Kimball in an interview with MMA Today. “When I go out there and just have fun, good things happen for me. When I feel like my back’s against the wall, that’s when I get hurt, lose the fight, or something stupid happens.”

One of the performances Kimball was referring to was his last fight back in December. Facing off against highly-touted prospect Dominick Reyes at UFC 218 in Detroit, Kimball was submitted in the first round via rear-naked choke.

“I just wasn’t comfortable in there, and I just kind of rushed everything,” Kimball said of the fight. “That’s kind of what I’m trying to get away from in this fight.”

Fortunately for Kimball, followers of MMA and the UFC have short memories. On Sunday afternoon, Kimball has the chance to erase the remembrance of his past few losses with a victory. Kimball will be competing on the UFC Fight Pass preliminary portion of UFC Hamburg,

For this camp, Kimball says everything is finally coming together — both mentally and physically. This is in part due to Kimball’s training camp. The 6’0″ 205-pounder spent time in Las Vegas at Xtreme Couture and Syndicate MMA in order to finally get some rounds in with heavier fighters — hot commodities in the MMA world.

“It’s been awesome,” described Kimball. “I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve been in probably ever in my career. I was at the MMA Lab for a little bit, and I like it. The door is still open for me there, but they just don’t have too many big guys. So going out to Vegas [I trained with] Todd Duffee, Julian Marquez, Uriah Hall, and a bunch of big bodies. It was great.”

An extra added bonus for Kimball come fight night is that he’s fighting in Germany. At first glance, the unassuming eye would consider his opponent, Serbia’s Darko Stosic (12-1, 0-0 UFC) to be more of a crowd favorite. In actuality, Kimball has closer ties to Germany than the southeast European does.

“I actually have family out there,” said Kimball. “My mom is German, so on her side there’s a bunch of family out there. So they’re going to come out to watch, which is pretty cool. I actually asked for a fight outside of the country. I’m super excited that it happened.”

Fights fans and scouts hold Stosic in high regard — many deeming him the best pound-for-pound in the Balkans region of Europe. The bout against Kimball at UFC Hamburg will be the 26-year-old’s light heavyweight debut. At heavyweight, Stosic accumulated twelve wins in thirteen fights, with eight finishes inside the distance.

“I think he’s a tough, big, strong guy, but he’s a striker,” said Kimball, of his opponent. “That’s what I’m looking forward to. I like to get in there and brawl. That’s kind of been my career. I’m just excited to go in there and stand in front of another dude. He’s not backing down, so I have to win that chess match of strength and power. I’ve got to find my power on him.”

“I think [the fans] can expect an explosive fight out of two big guys who are going out to win early,” continued Kimball. “It’s not going to be this long, drawn out fight. It’s going to be explosive just like every other fight in my UFC career. It’s all first round.”

Unlike the likes of Conor McGregor and other brash MMA personalities, Kimball feels “calling his shot” would be a bit pointless. After all he says, most of his finishes just come in the moment.

“I can say here I’m going to knock him out in the first, but it never goes that way,” laughed Kimball. “I’ve had some crazy knockouts, where I’ve never even practiced the strike. Like the [Josh] Stansbury knockout, I’ve never even practiced that in my life, but it just happened. It’s just about letting myself have fun and not looking for the knockout, just finding it.”

Click here to check out Jeremy’s “GRIZZnGRIME PodCast”

“Thank you to everyone out in Vegas at the Performance Institute, Team Syndicate, and Xtreme Couture. They were all great this camp, and they’re all welcoming. Thanks to Todd Duffee — he was a big help when I was out there. Thanks to Julian Marquez and Justin Louden and my dad, Ernest Kimball.” – Grizzly


To learn more about Jeremy Kimball, follow him on social media:
Twitter: @Jeremykimball1
Instagram: @grizzly_kimball

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Nolan King is a MMA Today senior columnist, writer and renowned MMA insider. Nolan's other freelance work can also be found on FloCombat, Tapology, and MMA Brasil.