Yohan Lainesse believes he’s prepared to handle the stress of the Dana White’s Contender Series stage

Yohan Lainesse
Yohan Lainesse (Credt: CFFC)

One of Canada’s fastest rising prospects is knocking on the door of the UFC.

CFFC welterweight champion Yohan Lainesse (7-0) is set for a Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) showdown with fellow undefeated British sensation Justin Burlinson (6-0).

Lainesse, 29, is looking to join Jasmine Jasudavicius, Chad Anheliger and Mike Malott as the fourth Canadian signed to the UFC on this season of DWCS. It’s a big moment for Lainesse, but he believes his journey has prepared him for it.

“My championship fight in CFFC brought me a lot of stress and emotion. I don’t think I’ve ever stressed like that in the locker room and I ended up doing well,” Lainesse said in an interview with MMA Empire.

“I think it was a good warmup for me to fight for the belt. It was a very emotional fight and a big fight for me. Of course, there will be some pressure with Dana White there, but I’m ready for it. I’m going to be more focused than ever.”

En route to stepping into the cage Tuesday night with a UFC contract on the line, Quebec’s Lainesse has made quite the name for himself in a short time with highlight-reel knockouts and championship performances in CFFC.

Lainesse has been gaining confidence with every outing and by staying healthy he’s maintained an active schedule over the past year.

“The knockout of the year with CFFC, a hard three-round fight with Troy Green and after that fighting for the belt and being the first to finish Evan Cutts in 17 fights gives me a lot of confidence,” Lainesse said.

“It proves to me that I’m a little bit special for this sport. I haven’t been doing this that long, I started full time just five years ago. This will be my fifth fight in just over a calendar year, so I think it’s a lot but I don’t have damage from my last fights or any injuries so I’m In a good mood and I have a lot of confidence that I’m on my way and I’m not going to stop.”

Ahead of the biggest opportunity of his career, Lainesse says he feels he’s exactly where he wants to be. The “White Lion” has made some notable changes to how he prepares, even adding the wisdom of a Canadian MMA legend to his corner.

“By far my best training camp because in my last training camp and my past fights I was a little bit more by myself,” Lainesse explained.

“I chose my training partners. I was also a kickboxing coach, so I was sparring with some of my students. I kind of planned out my own training camp. Now, for this fight, I go with Patrick Cote. He’s my head coach and he structures everything and manages my training camp. I do a lot of conditioning with him and he decides who I spar. Physically and mentally it was a very hard camp, but I know I’m at the top of my game right now.”

With a kickboxing background and his lanky, athletic build, Lainesse’ striking skills are often highlighted by opponents and analysts alike.

But in addition to his known striking prowess, Lainesse has been eager for an opportunity to show he’s got the goods everywhere.

“Everyone knows I’m a good striker, but everyone thinks I just want to work on my striking and fight on the feet. I know I have a lot of standup skills and great knockouts, but I don’t consider myself a striker. I want to be a mixed martial artist,” Lainesse said.

“I’m a grinder, I love wrestling and BJJ and I feel like I haven’t been able to show a lot of my skills there. I know I have a lot more weapons to show.”

Lainesse expects an opportunity to showcase all of his tools will come Tuesday night against the well-rounded Burlinson.

He has a lot of respect for his opponent in the cage, but Lainesse feels he’s simply a step ahead in terms of ability and preparation.

“I’m very excited for this fight because I know Justin Burlinson is very good on the ground and his feet too. I think we’re going to have a lot of exchanges everywhere and I think you’ll see a bit of everything,” Lainesse said.

“Of course, I’ve looked at all of his fights. He’s had a lot, but he’s never really been tested before. He always wins fairly easily. His last fight was against David Bear who’s a good fighter, but I’m a different animal. I focus on myself. I know the guy is good, but when I train I get ready to fight a world champion. In my mind I’m going to fight the best in the world. I prepare for every situation and make sure I have an answer for every question. I feel like I know what he wants to do out there and that’s my biggest advantage.”

Lainesse’s Shoutouts

“All my sponsors and my team. Special thanks to Patrick Cote, Jean-Francois Gaudreau and the XPN Centre.” Follow Lainesse on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM