Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Interview: Josh Haynes

By: Justin Bolduc -

Nokaut’s Justin Bolduc sits down with former Ultimate Fighter contestant Josh Haynes as he prepares for his UFC 69 fight with Luke Cummo. Haynes will be dropping down to the welterweight division and looks to make an impact. You have a fight coming up against Luke Cummo; what are your thoughts on him and what have you done to prepare for him?
Josh Haynes: I don’t really have a lot to think about with this kid. He’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades; he’s very well rounded, but he’s no different than any of my training partners and I know by no means better. His submissions and striking skills aren’t going to be anywhere near as good as the guys I work out with on a daily basis at [Team Quest] and some of the other folks I train with in Portland, so I don’t have a lot of concerns there.

As far as preparation, I’ve been putting a lot of time in working with my coaches at Team Quest, and of course my training partners. I’ve been doing a little Thai boxing with a guy named Jeremy Wijers out of Portland Thaiboxing, he was pro Thai boxer out of Thailand for quite a while, but he’s done a lot to sharpen up my stand-up game and kind of clean up my striking- cause you know I catch a lot of heat because I get in there and kind of brawl sometimes. So I’ve been doing a lot of skill building and just kind of rounding out my game. Obviously you are fighting at a much lower weight now; how are you feeling now and will that affect your fighting?
Josh Haynes: You know I feel real good actually, cutting down to 170 [pounds] has been a natural progression for me, so it hasn’t taken a lot for me to get down to the weight that I need to be [at]. I’m walking around right now at about 184 and 170 will be a little bit of a drop, but I haven’t lost much of anything as far as strength goes. I feel as strong as I ever did before and as far as conditioning and speed, I feel good, I’m ready to rock man. So I don’t feel a lot, it’s been a real, easy, natural drop for me. Of course we saw you on The Ultimate Fighter; how has life been since the show?
Josh Haynes: It’s been crazy, I expected to get a little bit of notoriety coming off the show and such, but I have actually gained a great fan base because of that show. Showing the aspect of my life that it did and the people that are interested in me… it’s really kind of… it’s better then I ever expected, I’d do it again on a moments notice. SpikeTV and the UFC have done a lot to promote me and my career, so life’s been real good. Actually the opportunity that I’ve been presented with, and the fact I get to say I can fight for the UFC has been great. That was a long-time goal of mine so thanks to The Ultimate Fighter I have had that opportunity, I’m very thankful for it. It’s been a great ride man; I’ve had a really good time with it. It’s just the beginning of a long career man, so I’m just kind of getting rolling. You’re dropping down to arguably the most stacked division in the world, how do you see yourself fitting in there?
Josh Haynes: You know I’m not quite sure, honestly. I’ve never fought at 170 before so I’m not sure where I’ll fit in but I know I will fit well. A lot will be shown this fight in how I perform. I think that once I catch a couple fights at 170 the world will know who I am. And I think the fact that I’ve cut down from such a high weight class, I’ve fought everywhere from Super-Heavyweight now down to 170- I think that could concern a few people that I’ve never been put down by a guy weighing 300 plus pounds with a straight punch, I mean that’s got to concern a few people that I can take some punishment like that and not shy away. So I think as far as where I fit in the weight class, only time will tell. I know if the situation was reversed and I was stepping into the cage with a guy that has been fighting all the way across the board for as long as I have been I’d be a little bit concerned, so I’m thinking some folks out there will be thinking twice when they sign the dotted line to fight me. To get your thoughts on some other topics. Like the UFC is obviously doing very well, they ended up purchasing WFA assets, they signed Mirko “Cro Cop”, purchased the WEC, and now the Fertitas have bought PRIDE… do you have any thoughts on where they are headed, and also mixed martial arts in general worldwide?
Josh Haynes: You know I’m stoked with the way things are going. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the UFC at a time where they are kind of a monopoly in the MMA world. You look at what the UFC is doing kind of like what Microsoft has been doing for a number of years, they purchase different shows and smaller competition and just roll it into one. I’ve wanted to fight in Japan since I started in this sport and I think now that the UFC has tie-ins with PRIDE, the fact they own that organization now, I think I’ll get that chance, I’m really looking forward to it.

Overall my thoughts are things are going real well man, real well. The UFC has a proven methodology in promoting the sport and I think if they keep some of the staff on that has done so well with PRIDE then I think that show will grow real fast and I think that PRIDE and the UFC can feed off of each other. I think at the end of the day it stands to benefit everybody.

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