When you think of young fighters with a ton of potential, 22 year-old Dustin Hazelett comes to mind. With an overall record of 11-4 including 4-2 in the UFC, Hazelett has the skill set to become one of the top fighters in the welterweight division. On June 21, 2008 at UFC’s Fight Night, Hazelett proved that he could hang with top fighters when he submitted Josh Burkman in third round. Not only was the fashion in which he won in was impressive but the way he came back was impressive. Hazelett took this fight right after a disappointing loss to Josh Koscheck in March of 2008. He could have faulted again or let the loss get to him, but he didn’t. He went back to the gym and changed his mistakes. There is no limit to Hazelett’s potential and we could be hearing his name soon when it comes to title contention. Here is what Hazelett told ADCC News.
ADCC: Before we get into your latest victory, talk about your last fight with Josh Koscheck. What did that loss teach you? DUSTIN: I learned a lot from that loss. The main thing I learned was that I had made a few small errors in training which translated into mistakes in the cage. I switched up my training some and made the necessary adjustments, and training couldn’t have gone better. I think the most important thing I learned is that with a guy who likes to come over the top you cannot paw your jab. As you saw I didn’t paw my jab against (Josh) Burkman, and I didn’t get knocked out (laughs).
ADCC: After that loss, you fought and defeated Josh Burkman. Was this the biggest victory of your career? DUSTIN: Definitely Burkman is a big name, and notoriously tough. He just lost a controversial decision to Mike Swick right before we fought. I think that victory said a lot for my skills.
ADCC: People are still talking about your armbar submission. Talk about the set up and how were you able to pull it off? DUSTIN: I was trying to take him down with the ankle pick from the wizzer. He based out to block it, now I’m not 100 percent sure on what I was thinking, but I believe I was trying to take his back. When he pushed into me it put me into position for the armbar. When you drill a move so many times you start doing before you even realize there’s an opening for it. That’s the way it has to be if you think oh there’s an opening for an armbar, the opening will be gone before you start moving. That’s how I locked the arm bar.
ADCC: With that submission, you should have been awarded your black belt. Is there any chance of getting that recognition soon? DUSTIN: I’m not sure. Jorge does not award belts based on how you do in MMA. I really like that rule even though it makes it a lot harder for me to get promoted. The art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very different from what you see on the ground in MMA. Once you make strikes legal it’s a whole different ballgame. I think I have done a very good job of adapting my BJJ to MMA, with a lot of help from Jorge, Jon, and others. The bottom line is MMA is a different sport than Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with a gi.
ADCC: Well you got some recognition in a different way in winning the submission and fight of the night bonuses. How did it feel to be recognized and what are you going to do with that extra cash? DUSTIN: I was so happy to get those bonuses. I am actually in the process of buying a house. The house is a foreclosure so it’s pretty cheap, but money was still going to be incredibly tight, so the bonuses will be going to the house to make me sleep easier. Also I’m going to buy some 360 games.
ADCC: You’re still very young and have a bright future ahead of you. What areas do you think you need to improve on to be the best fighter at your weight? DUSTIN: I still have a lot of improvements to make in every area, and I’m not letting this win go to my head. As soon as I heal up, I’m going to be back in the gym working harder than ever. Even though I won I still took a lot of damage in that fight. To be honest I am disappointed in my performance, because I know I could have done so much better.
ADCC: The UFC welterweight division is stacked and probably one of the deepest. Who would you like to fight next and do you want a rematch with Koscheck?
DUSTIN: I will fight whoever the UFC wants me to fight. I’m not big on picking my own fights. Monte Cox, my manager, calls me and says, “hey they want you to fight this guy”, and I say ok, and get ready.
ADCC: What’s next for you? Could we see you fighting soon? DUSTIN: I haven’t heard of anything yet, so for now I’m taking a week or so off, and resting up to let my body heal. I have some general soreness, probably from all the times I got slammed jumping guard (laughs).
ADCC: Thanks for your time Dustin and we wish you luck in the future. Do you have anything to say to your fans or sponsors? DUSTIN: Thanks for the opportunity. I would like to say thanks to all my fans for the support, especially those who have stuck with me through the hard times, and never lost faith in me. I would also like to thank my manager Monte Cox, for all his hard work and help. My sponsors Sandy at Sinister Angel Cages, Brad at Viva Advisor Group, Doc Youtsler, and everyone at Sprawl, and American Fighter.