“I’m a spur of the moment kind of guy. Everything I own fits in the back of my truck…”
Interview and Photos by: Barry Laminack
You probably don’t know much about Kevin Thomas other than he’s the guy that got into it with Levi West at a recent Legacy show when they faced off in the cage. Kevin describes himself as a “pretty simple guy” and says that everything he owns he can fit in the back of his truck. Since he’s one half of the main event on the July 29 Legacy Amateur Series card (going down at the House of Blues) we thought we’d sit down and get to know him.
TCD: Give us some background on you as a fighter.
Kevin: I did a little bit of wrestling growing up as a kid. That ended in high school because I didn’t like being yelled at and told what to do (even though I joined the Marine Corps right out of high school). In 2007 I joined with Aurelio Delarosa and started doing jiu-jitsu and boxing. I’m now a green belt under him. I came to 4oz and Bob and Jeremy have been working on my stand-up. I owe some credit to Gustavo Rodriguez back home, he’s my Muay Thai coach and is well known back in the Chicago area.
TCD: How does having your coaches come down from Illinois help you?
Kevin: My confidence is through the roof right now. 4oz is the best gym in the area. My jiu-jitsu teacher Aurelio is disgusting with his jits and I feel that has rubbed off on me. I feel good standing and on the ground.
TCD: You’re from Chicago, so how did you get down here.
Kevin: I had moved down here with my girlfriend in 2008. Things didn’t work out so I went back to Chicago. I had met with Jeremy [Mahon] and stayed in contact with him. On my return trip to Houston I told him I wanted to fight for him. Again it didn’t work out so I went back home again for all of 2010. I just moved back here again in March.
TCD: So are you down here for good?
Kevin: I don’t know. I’m a spur of the moment kind of guy. Everything I own fits in the back of my truck man.
TCD: I remember the first time I met you, you were mopping mats and I asked what got you into the sport. Do you remember what you told me?
Kevin: I don’t.
TCD: You said, “It’s either this or prison.” What did you mean by that?
Kevin: That goes back to when I was getting in trouble before I started fighting. I got in trouble for fighting but I got lucky and got a good lawyer. I had 2 felonies dropped down to misdemeanors so I had to stop then. As laid back as I am now I could still go to the bar and fight but choose not to. I have to think about the kids that look up to me and the kids that I teach. I try and do the right thing now.
TCD: You said earlier this is your third time in Houston. What brought you down here this time?
Kevin: To fight Levi West. I had told him on TheCageDoor.net that I wanted to fight him for that belt and he said “you don’t know who you are messing with son, I’d love to step in there with you right now.”
That lit the fire under me and I moved here about 5 days later. I think that was on the 8th and I was down here on the 13th.
TCD: You obviously wanted to fight him badly if you moved from Chicago just for this fight, so what was it like when you found out the fight was off?
Kevin: Regardless of a title shot or not I wanted to fight him, but it was disappointing. This is still my first fight for 4oz and it’s for a belt and the way I look at it 4oz doesn’t lose belts, so this is my fight to win.
TCD: Talk about what happened in the cage early in the year when you and Levi did a face off. It got pretty heated and you two had to be pulled apart.
Kevin: I talked to Mick about getting us in there, so he did it. We got in there and I did my old Irish pose and put my fist on his chin and he didn’t like it very much. We got head to head…well, chin to head (he’s a little taller than I am). Later him and his dad started shouting some words at my coach from Illinois and at Bob [Perez]. We’re a respectable gym so we sat back in our seats while they were talking trash. I’m almost 29 so I’m not in to all that shit talking. He’s just a young kid and I don’t really respect him at all.
TCD: Do you still want to fight him?
Kevin: I would love to defend the title again Levi.
TCD: Now that you are fighting his team-mate G [Moreira], does the game plan change at all?
Kevin: Through my eyes they look the same. Same body style, same fighting style, but I think Gil is a little bit cleaner with his fighting. He’s a respectable person.
TCD: So you don’t have the same animosity going into this one?
TCD: G is a bit taller than you so does that effect your or worry you at all?
Kevin: 6 inches taller to be exact. No, it doesn’t worry me.
TCD: Do you game-plan differently for a taller fighter?
Kevin: Not really man. I just go in there and fight. I rely on my skills and I’m sure they are better and it’s going to go my way.
TCD: Where do you think your biggest advantage is with G?
Kevin: Staying inside with the stand up, but if we go to the ground I’m ready.
TCD: Talk about your plans going forward. What’s next for you?
Kevin: I want to fight Levi and then move down to 155 and compete for that title and stay there. I’d like to go pro next year.
TCD: How many amateur fights do you have, and what is your record?
Kevin: I have 7 fights total and I’m 4-3. All my fights have been up in Illinois. I won my last fight via ref. stoppage. The guy told me as I was too aggressive while I was mounting him. The ref. didn’t even know what was going on when I stopped.
TCD: So how long do you plan on doing this?
Kevin: Until I can’t be competitive anymore. I don’t want a lopsided record. I don’t want to be like those guys who fight for quarter and dimes. You’re not going to get rich fighting. You can go to McDonalds and get more money. So as long as I can stay competitive. I’m not looking to go UFC. I want to get as much knowledge as I can so I can train and teach.
TCD: Anybody you want to thank before we wrap it up?
Kevin: Bob and Jeremy here at 4oz, Aurelio Delarosa of Delarosa Submission Wrestling, my Muay Thai coach Gustavo Rodriguez, a good buddy of mine Jeremy Cuttill (he works with me day in and day out when I’m back home), Mick Maynard for allowing me to have my first fight in Houston be for a title, and all my friends and family for supporting me.