A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu icon is ready to strap on his four-ounce mixed martial arts gloves once again.
On Sunday, 17 May, American grappling sensation Tom DeBlass put pen to paper and signed with ONE Championship.
The 38-year-old New Jersey resident announced the news on his official Facebook page.
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It's not about being fearless, it's about standing for what you believe in even in the face of fear. Never hiding to avoid troubles, but being strong enough to endure those troubles. Every day I'm scared, but everyday I let my fear drive me and push me. I'm scared of failure, I'm scared for my children. Yet my fear of failure pushes me to work harder than ever. I'd rather die than crumble to my own fears.
The multiple-time BJJ World Champion made his mixed martial arts debut in June 2010, and he amassed a 9-2 professional record with four wins coming via knockout and another two victories coming via submission.
During his three and a half year run in the sport, he picked up both the Ring Of Combat Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Titles.
Following his knockout victory over Jason Lambert in November 2013, he decided to retire from mixed martial arts competition and re-dedicate his focus entirely on BJJ.
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Recently, however, DeBlass had a change of heart.
When the American traveled to Asia to serve as Tonon’s cornerman for a ONE Championship bout, he was inspired by the atmosphere of the event. ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong also helped to reignite his passion for the sport.
“I remember the first time I went to corner Garry Lee Tonon, the owner of ONE, Chatri Sityodtong, approached me like he knew me for years. I was so impressed with him, his staff, and the fans. I watched the event, the fighters, the respect, and I immediately loved MMA again. I loved the code of the Samurai, and no organization emulates this code like ONE,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
“I’m not claiming to come back and knock anyone out, or even win. I simply want to inspire everyone and remind everyone that this life is a fight. Every day we must fight for what we want, and it’s never easy.
“I promise you that I will give my best, always and forever. At 38, I can ride into the sunset with never testing myself again. Yet, this opportunity is simply a godsend, and it’s my duty to accept. Now it’s time to get back into fight shape. Thank you for the support and thank you for the opportunity, Chatri.”
Please join me in welcoming legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu trailblazer Tom DeBlass (9-2) to ONE Championship! A true…
A date for DeBlass’ promotional debut has not been confirmed, but he will be competing in the heavyweight division and perhaps the light heavyweight division, too.
However, there are several interesting showdowns for the New Jersey resident, including potential blockbuster contests with reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera and two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang.