Jeremy Stephens if nothing else offers stability in a sport often defined by its volatility.
A staple of the Ultimate Fighting Championship since he joined the roster as a 21-year-old prospect in May 2007, Stephens will take on Doo Ho Choi in the UFC Fight Night 124 main event this Sunday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Alliance MMA representative last competed at UFC 215 on Sept. 9, when he chewed up Gilbert Melendez’s leg with kicks and snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over the former Strikeforce champion. Even so, Stephens has produced mixed results since he downshifted to 145 pounds, going 6-5 in 11 appearances as a featherweight. Whether or not he can graduate beyond his place as a respected gatekeeper remains to be seen.
As Stephens approaches his five-round battle with Choi, here are some of the numbers that have come to define him:
1: Loss by knockout. Yves Edwards did the deed with punches and elbows at UFC on Fox 5 in December 2012, dispatching Stephens 1:55 into the first round.
2: Wins over current or former UFC champions. Stephens knocked out onetime lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 91 in 2008 and notched a unanimous decision against former bantamweight champion Renan Barao in 2016.
3: Losses by submission. Chris Mickle, Din Thomas and Joe Lauzon were the perpetrators.
13: First-round finishes to Stephens’ credit. His list of victims includes dos Anjos, Justin Buchholz and Rony Mariano Bezerra.
10: Losses by decision. Stephens owns a puzzling 7-10 mark in bouts that go the distance. That includes split decision defeats to Melvin Guillard, Renato Carneiro and Anthony Pettis.
16: Knockdowns landed in UFC competition, per FightMetric. Only former middleweight champion Anderson Silva (18) has been credited with more.
17: Wins by knockout or technical knockout. They account for 65 percent of his career total.
26: Appearances inside the Octagon, tying Stephens with Gleison Tibau and Donald Cerrone for seventh on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s all-time list. Only Michael Bisping (29), Jim Miller (28), Frank Mir (27), Demian Maia (27), Tito Ortiz (27) and Diego Sanchez (27) have more UFC fights under their belt.
31: Years of age. When Stephens was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 26, 1986, the top five movies at the domestic box office were “Cobra,” “Poltergeist II: The Other Side,” “Top Gun,” “Short Circuit” and “Sweet Liberty.”
365,000: Dollars in post-fight bonus money earned as a member of the UFC roster. Stephens has drawn “Fight of the Night” honors four times and “Knockout of the Night” on three occasions.