Fingers crossed, this time it’s going to happen for Steve Bosse. Barring any disasters between now and Saturday, “The Boss” will make his UFC debut against Brazil’s Thiago “Marreta” Santos, something that was supposed to happen twice, but that only now puts him hours away from weigh-in day.
“It’s going to be amazing. It’s an opportunity for me to show who I am.”
Bosse said that in April, when he was slated to take on Fabio Maldonado at UFC 186 in Montreal’s Bell Centre. It was the dream scenario for the former ice hockey enforcer turned mixed martial artist turned retiree turned fighter again. He was going to fight in the same place where he made his pro MMA debut in 2007, and it didn’t matter that it was a short notice fight taken after nearly two years away from the sport.
But then everything fell apart for the 33-year-old Quebec native when the man he replaced in the Maldonado bout, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, was given the green light to fight, putting Bosse back on the sidelines.
He had been comfortable there after his original UFC debut against Ryan Jimmo in April of 2014 was scrapped due to injury, mainly because he announced his retirement shortly after he withdrew from the bout. But fighters don’t stay retired long when they feel there’s still, as Rocky Balboa put it so well “stuff in the basement.”
“After this decision I took a long break because my left shoulder was hurt very bad, and when I came back to the gym to train, it was just for fun,” Bosse said. “Then the feelings came back slowly for me to go back to the cage.”
It was a process for Bosse, who eased back into his athletic life, first putting on the skates and hitting the ice (and other enforcers) last November. That was the first spark for him.
“When I dropped my gloves on the ice the first time, the adrenaline came back again, and I think this is why I came back now,” he said, but he wasn’t completely back in the MMA world yet. “The Boss” did train MMA, but his focus was on his striking, as he scheduled a boxing match for May 22 of this year. Then he heard that Jackson was out of his UFC 186 co-main event against Maldonado. And that was the real spark that got things going again.
“I was not really planning on coming back, but I was in a training camp for a boxing match that was supposed to be on May 22,” he said. “I was training MMA just for fun. And when I saw Rampage out, I called (manager) Stephane (Patry) and said ‘Tell Dana I can take his place.’”
So was it the opportunity to come back, or the opportunity to face someone in Maldonado who the Canadian knockout artist wouldn’t have to look for on fight night?
“A little bit of both,” Bosse, owner of a 10-1 record with eight knockouts, laughed. “It was a chance to be on the card and it was a perfect match for me.”
Ultimately, it was not meant to be, but Bosse’s willingness to step up on short notice for the bout earned him a second (or third) chance, and in Santos, he will meet someone who may not be as brazen as Maldonado in his willingness to brawl, but who has never backed down from a scrap either. And as Bosse has proved in the past, particularly with his 2011 finish of UFC vet Houston Alexander, if he’s close enough to land a fist or elbow on you, he’s got the power to make it an early night. Sounds like a welcome addition to the light heavyweight roster, and while Bosse is non-committal about his future, if he stays healthy and does what he usually does on fight night, he may just stick around a while.
“I don’t know what my future is with the UFC, but we’ll see after this fight what happens with me.”