Just over one year removed from a no-contest ruling on Dana White’s Contender Series, Victoria, BC’s Dustin Joynson (5-0) is back on Friday night when he faces veteran knockout artist Carl “Badwater” Seumanutafa (12-11) in a heavyweight bout at CFFC 87 in Philadelphia, PA.
Joynson, 33, will be making his second appearance on UFC Fight Pass. The first time round didn’t go as planned, but Joynson said it was a great learning experience to look back on.
“You can definitely see the difference when people are in the UFC and on the big stage. There’s a lot of shock value,” Joynson said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I think that was the biggest problem in my Contender Series fight, I kept asking myself if I belonged here or if I deserve this, and at the same time I had a bunch of people congratulating me. But for what? I wasn’t in the UFC yet.”
Joynson emphasizes mental game
Undefeated so far in his career, with four wins coming by stoppage, Joynson has shown the ability to compete at the highest level.
However, Joynson said that doesn’t necessarily mean the walk to the cage is always an easy one to make.
“It’s the mental game that’s the hardest part of fighting for me,” Joynson said.
“It’s hard believing in yourself, and it’s so easy to get nervous and have doubts. Thankfully, in every fight so far, by the time we touch gloves those butterflies go away. I know I have the skills and, like most fighters, I just need to get out of my head.”
Training in the midst of a pandemic has been a challenge for most fighters, including Joynson, but with restrictions slowly lifting across the country, Joynson said he feels more than ready to perform on Friday night.
“Back when the pandemic first hit, gyms were closed, but I had a few close friends I could still train with. As a fighter, it’s really hard to just do nothing,” Joynson said.
“Right now, I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”
With a 6’5″ frame and a 78-inch reach, Joynson towers over most of his opponents and, despite regularly having the size advantage, he doesn’t feel like he gives anything up in the speed or cardio departments.
“I don’t feel like a heavyweight, to be honest.” Joynson said.
“It’s not until I look at myself in photos next to other people that I really notice how big I am. Most of my training partners have been bigger middleweights and light heavyweights, so I guess I’ve always felt like I was their size moving around. Everyone is so fast and their cardio is so good and, as a heavyweight, I want to be at that level. It’s always been a big motivation for me.”
Joynson expecting familiar style from Seumanutafa
Despite being 6’1″ with a stockier frame, Seumanutafa makes up for it with an 81-inch reach and technical footwork.
On Friday night, Joynson expects to see the same gameplan his Contender Series opponent, Ben Sosoli, tried to implement.
“I don’t always enjoy fighting guys like that; they’re so short and stocky, and they put a lot of weight into every punch,” Joynson said.
“I just have to stay on the outside. As a heavyweight, my cardio is really good, so I just have to try and outpace him.”
A veteran of over 20 professional fights, Seumanutafa is looking to rebound from back-to-back decision losses.
After spending time in many high-level gyms, Joynson said he won’t be intimidated by the experience edge that Seumanutafa may hold.
“I went and trained at Xtreme Couture in Vegas and there’s some really good guys there,” Joynson said.
“When you are doing okay against those guys, you realize they’re just people. Just because they have that experience doesn’t make them a better or more skilled fighter than me. That can be a hard thing to get over when you’re fighting a guy with lots of experience.”
Joynson steps back into the cage on Friday night at CFFC 87 and, as always, said he’ll be looking to keep the judges from getting involved.
“Winning by decision has only happened once for me, but I know I have the cardio to go three rounds for sure. I see it finishing on the feet, and I think I’m going to just outwork him with volume.”