Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu icon Tom DeBlass explains reasons for signing with ONE Championship

Santino Honasan on May 25, 2020 03:42 PM
BJJ icon Tom DeBlass explains reasons for signing with ONE
“I look at ONE as a way of life and not fighting. I don’t look at ONE as fighting at all. I look at ONE as a chance to showcase my skills once again, have fun and push myself, and hopefully inspire other people.” - Tom DeBlass

It’s been nearly seven years since New Jersey native Tom “T-Bone” DeBlass set foot inside a mixed martial arts arena. 

Back in November of 2013, DeBlass competed in last MMA bout, knocking out Jason Lambert in just under two minutes at Bellator 108. 

Since then, the 38 year old has continuously been active in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circuit, competing in tournaments such as the ADCC, and the No Gi World Championships. 

Last week however, DeBlass confirmed that he will be making a return to mixed martial arts after signing with Asian powerhouse ONE Championship

For the third-degree BJJ Black Belt, the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus was a factor in getting him to return to the cage. 

“This pandemic has really changed my way of thinking and my thought process. It’s very hard for me to just sit in my home, and I started developing a fire, a drive, and a motivation that I didn’t have before, but I put all my faith in God,” DeBlass told ONE Championship.   

DeBlass believes that ONE Championship reaching out to him was the Lord’s will. 

“A few days after I had a long prayer, Chatri [Sityodtong] messaged me and asked me what I thought about fighting. If it wasn’t him who messaged me, I wouldn’t have even thought about it.”

“I truly admire what he has done with ONE, and I admire him. I said this must be God’s plan,” DeBlass continued. 

DeBlass is a former Ring of Combat Heavyweight World Champion, apart from being a Bellator and UFC veteran. 

Now, the Ricardo Almeida black belt will be taking his talents to the world’s biggest martial arts stage, and it’s because he has been quite impressed with what he’s seen with ONE. 

“If I did come back to competition, it’s with ONE and no one else. I love what ONE Championship stands for and I’ve been to the shows multiple times,” DeBlass stated. 

“I love the Samurai spirit. I love the Asian culture. Whether ONE is fighting in Asia or the United States, the culture they have represents much more than mixed martial arts,” he added. 

DeBlass sees his return to competition with ONE as a chance to once again display what he can do and have fun while doing it. 

“I look at ONE as a way of life and not fighting. I don’t look at ONE as fighting at all. I look at ONE as a chance to showcase my skills once again, have fun and push myself, and hopefully inspire other people.”

Coming into the promotion as a heavyweight, DeBlass will be able to test himself against the likes of Alain Ngalani, Mauro Cerrilli, Arjan Bhullar, Vitor Belfort, and reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera. 

DeBlass won’t be making any bold predictions as to how far he’ll go in the division however. 

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I don’t want to disrespect anyone that has been in ONE or any titleholders or anybody who has been putting their time in. I’m just going to say my goal is to inspire everyone, fight by fight.”

“Every fight I have, I look to win. Every competition I have, I look to win. Whatever path God takes me on, whether that be a World Title or defeat, I accept my fate. Let’s see what happens. It’s going to be phenomenal,” he concluded. 

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