Clay Collard has no doubt his hands are better than Jeremy Stephens’.
Collard (20-9-1) welcomes ex-UFC staple Stephens (28-19-1) to the PFL in the 2022 season opener, and he won’t be afraid to stand and trade with him despite the array of devastating knockouts “Lil’ Heathen’ has on his resume.
“One hundred percent, I feel like I have the edge on him in boxing,” Collard told MMA Junkie Radio. “He hits hard. Everybody hits hard. I can take a shot, too. I think (Anthony) Pettis kicked me right upside the head. He still didn’t put me out. I’m excited about it. He could swing, but I’m just going to piece him up and pick him apart, and that’s my plan.”
2022 PFL 1 takes place April 20 at Esports Arena in Arlington, Texas and streams on ESPN+ and ESPN.
Based on their willingness to stand and trade, Collard knew he’d draw Stephens in a regular season matchup. The pairing has high potential for action, and because of that Collard isn’t surprised to see his fight headlining over the return of reigning PFL lightweight champion Raush Manfio.
“As soon as they signed (Stephens), I said, ‘That’s my opponent. That’s who they’re going to give me right out the gate,'” Collard said. “So I called it. Just the matchup stylistically, we match up very well and it’s a very exciting fight and it’s a good fight to start the season out. Last year, they did the same thing. They knew me and Pettis was going to be a banger – let’s open up with a banger. So I feel like we’re going to open up the season with another banger. I’m very excited about it – extremely.”
Check out the complete interview with Collard and MMA Junkie Radio below (via YouTube):