Black belt Tom Deblass took the MMA community by surprise this week when he announced his retirement as a pro fighter. On his Facebook page, DeBlass wrote that he wanted to devote more time to his family and business and that the ammount of time MMA demanded made that impossible. GRACIEMAG got in touch with the leader of Ocean County BJJ to talk about his decision. In the interview, Tom talks about the great moments of his career, considers competing in Jiu-Jitsu again and plans his future.
The decision to retire from MMA was made before the UFC Macau fight? Did the result there have any influence in it?
I actually had spoke with my fiancé and close friends about the possibility of retiring before my fight in Macau. The amount of time I was taking away from my Academy and family was taking a toll. The result really had nothing to do with it to be honest.
Which were the best and the worst moments in your MMA career and why?
The best moments in my career were always stepping in the cage after a long hard training camp. The wars inside the cage. Also making it to the UFC in just a year and a half. Also being the first UFC fight ever to take place in China. It’s history. Ironically my worst memory was taking a fight on 12 days notice knowing I was completely out of shape.
You competed in the ADCC, you are a BJJ World Champion (as a brown belt) and fought in the UFC. What are the main diferences for a fighter in those three environments of competition?
Competing in BJJ, and ADCC are both very similar. The training for those events are very much the same. The mentality as well. Competing in MMA is completely different. You must find time for multiple disciplines such as boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, cardio and strength, MMA, Jiu-Jitsu. It really is so demanding and hard on the body. You can train Jiu-Jitsu until the day you die, you certainly cannot fight MMA forever.
What aspect of a professional fighter’s daily life you think you’re going to miss the most and which aspect you will be glad every minute for not having to go through anymore?
Man, I miss it already. I miss the grind, I miss the sacrifice, I miss having to look forward to an upcoming fight! I will miss the feeling of a war inside the cage. However I will enjoy spending more time with my soon to be wife Delilah, our beautiful daughter, and my wonderful students at Ocean County Jiu-Jitsu.
What are your plans for the future?
My future plans are certainly to return to grappling competition at the highest level. I have to sharpen up my game for a few months before doing so. I also plan to keep growing Ocean County Jiu-Jitsu. You can check out www.oceancountybjj.com. Possibly open up more Academies.