James Thompson recently overcame a gambling addiction and is looking to make a statement tonight at Bellator 121

Tonight will not only mark the Bellator debut for heavyweight James Thompson, but it will also mark the first time in six years that Thompson will compete in the United States.Bellator 121

His last fight in the United States was 2,197 days ago (6 years, 6 days) as he was defeated in the third round by Kimbo Slice at Elite XC: Primetime.

Thompson told TheMMAReport.com this week that he is excited to be fighting back in the United States and he wants to show everyone that he can be a force in the Bellator heavyweight division.

“It does feel that long,” Thompson said. “It has been a long time and a lot has happened in between,” Thompson said. “I am really excited to get back to America and come back strong, show people that I am still here and a force to be reckoned with.”

Following the defeat against Slice, things went downhill for the heavyweight fighter has he got addicted to gambling. He admitted recently that he was stuck in a self-destructive cycle that he could not find his way out of.

“The gambling addiction I just overcame recently was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. It was very sneaky how it came into my life. I was feeling sorry for myself after the Kimbo fight and I had a little money, and it was just so sneaky how it’s sunk it’s claws into me. You think it’s about the money, but it’s not about the money, it’s about the buzz. The buzz I got from gambling became addicting and that was very self-destructive for me.”

“I did things I never would have imagined myself doing. I stole from my misses… It turned me into a completely different person. And not a very nice person. I still have to watch it. I still have to be careful because that voice will creep into my head. I don’t like any of my tattoos because they’re all about gambling. When I see them, they remind me not to ever go back to that dark place.”

Prior to overcoming his addiction to gambling, he admitted that he was barely training for his fights. Since overcoming his addiction, he has the buzz back for fighting that he once had and had for gambling.

“That buzz I was getting from gambling, that was the same buzz I used to get from fighting. Now I’m getting that buzz back from fighting again. Massively.”

Thompson (19-14, 1NC) has gone unbeaten in his last five fights and his most recent win came in March as he defeated Colin Robinson by submission in the second round. He will face Season Five Heavyweight Tournament winner Eric Prindle tonight in the co-main event of Bellator 121.

He is the betting favorite in this fight (-150) and he wants to make a statement in this fight. While Bellator officials have not told him that a win will secure him a spot in the next tournament, he feels that he should get a tournament spot with a victory. While he understands that his opponent tonight is a former tournament winner, he feels that he has faced tougher opponents in the past.

“I’ve been to the big show many times and I know what I’m capable of in there,” he said. “No disrespect to Eric Prindle but I have fought and beaten better guys than him.”

In the fight with Prindle, Thompson feels that his cardio, wrestling, and will to win will be the biggest advantages in the fight. Also, Thompson promises the fans that this will be an exciting fight and someone is going to get put away.

“I’ve been around the sport for a while and one thing you can’t accuse me of is being in a boring fight. I always fight with my heart on my sleeve. There’s no way I’m just going to take Eric Prindle down and try to lay on top of him for three rounds. There’s no way! Someone is getting put away. It’s either me or him. That’s just the truth.”