Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bringing the Pain: Exclusive UFC 69 interview with Josh Haynes

By Jesse Holland

At UFC 69 Josh “Bring The Pain” Haynes will be looking for his first win inside the Octagon.

As a light heavyweight he was stopped in the second round by Michael Bisping at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 3. He came up short as a middleweight in a decision loss to Rory “Version 2.5” Singer at UFC: The Final Chapter.

Now a welterweight, he’ll face Luke “The Silent Assassin” Cummo in a match that may determine not just who the better fighter is, but who will stay active on an increasingly populated UFC roster.

With only a finite amount of airtime, even seasoned fighters are vying for a spot on the main card. Add to that the upcoming debut of The Ultimate Fighter 5 (and a new crop of fighters) and this match could be make-or-break for both combatants.

I caught up with Josh on a Friday afternoon. He was jovial and down-to-earth, and spoke like a man proud of his craft. I could hear his kids playing in the background, and I felt assured that win or lose, this was a fighter that deserved to be here.

Jesse Holland (UFCmania): Josh, thank you for taking the time to check in with us at UFCmania. Before we get started can you tell us how your son Thor is doing?

Josh Haynes: He’s doing great, yeah, he’s turning into a typical five year-old. He’s in school, having fun with his friends, all that kind of stuff.

Jesse Holland (UFCmania): So he’s cancer free?

Josh Haynes: Well so far, so good. He’s been cancer free going on three years now. We still do annual scans and follow-ups. Every year we get closer and closer to beating this thing. I guess it never really goes away but the longer we go the better our chances are.

Jesse Holland (UFCmania): Let’s start with your training. You’re coming down from light heavyweight all the way to welterweight. That’s a pretty significant drop. How do you feel physically?

Josh Haynes: I feel great. I tried to set realistic goals for myself. I knew that my weight was a problem. It was so hard fighting at 205 because of my height. I gave up such a disadvantage in size and reach. You can see the size difference in my fight against Bisping and also in my fight against Rory at 185. I knew that I wanted to get to 170 but I also knew it had to be a gradual process. I used to walk around at 212 and right now I’m at 189. My goal is to walk around at 180. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare so it won’t be an issue.

Jesse Holland (UFCmania): Do you think trying to stay at that weight consistently will catch up to you?

Josh Haynes: I decided that win or lose against Cummo I’m staying at 170. I really don’t see it being a problem at all. Nothing is going to stop me from making weight. I know it’s been the talk lately because of Travis Lutter but I think he was the exception, not the rule. The guy’s got a history of weight cutting problems and to make matters worse he doesn’t have a solid crew behind him. He makes all his own decisions and it comes back to hurt him. Somebody’s always gotta have your back in this game.

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