Justin Sumter

Justin Sumter talks Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series: “If it is to be, it’s up to me”

Fighting out of West Haven, Connecticut, Justin Sumter is a top prospect out of the middleweight division. “The Fort” Sumter was scheduled to fight ex-UFC veteran Ron Stallings June 15 for CES 50. However, that fight was scrapped and along came a better opportunity as he is now set to fight July 31 against Ian Heinisch for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.

First of all, how did you get into MMA?
“I got into MMA because of my good friend Nick Wesley. He asked if I would like to come to his first fight so I said yes and what I saw in that ring that night was he literally went in there kicked the guy in the face, took him down and submitted him. Right then I was like ‘”I can do that no problem.’ After that, I was training three months then had my first fight against a 5-0 amateur and beat him in 1:30 and I was hooked.Justin Sumter

Is MMA your full-time job or are you working somewhere else as well?
I am a Project Manager for Rizzo Companies in Danbury, Connecticut.

Can you explain who you train with and how you came across the camp? Also, who are some of your main sparring partners?
I usually do my cardio and strength training around 5 a.m. then go to work and do my skills training around 6 til’ 9 usually. Recently, I have been training with Karl Roberson, Jesse Kosakowski, and Joe Mikolinski just to name a few.”

How is the cut to 185? What is your favorite thing to eat before and after weight cut?
“The cut to 185 is easy, I’ve been doing it for a while and now I kind of have it down to a science. I like to have one big go and have a Five Guys triple with large fries before I start my cut. (That’s usually 5-6 weeks out). After my weight cut, it would have to be a nice steak salad.”

What has been your favorite memory of your MMA career so far?
“Well, I am not in the UFC yet but my favorite memory would have to be experiencing my first live UFC event. I was able to get on the PPV when they panned the audience.””

What would be your favorite striking and grappling technique?
“Favorite strike would have to be my check hook and grappling would be the triangle.”

You had a span in your career where you had four different opponents scheduled on the same card for Premier FC 22. Ultimately you didn’t get the fight. What was the reasoning there and I’d say you were a bit frustrated right?
“It all started with the first guy backing out then the second guy backed out 4 weeks out. Me being an ‘Intimidating fighter’ people seem to need ample time to commit. So then the final guy agreed to fight heavyweight but his wife was having complications so he had to be with her. It was a little bit frustrating but it happens so I did not worry too much. Just had to stay ready and I took the CES fight and here we are!!”

 One dream fight, who would you square off with?
“I would love to fight Eryk Anders. I lost to him as an amateur and I would love to run that back.  Seeing him succeed in the UFC is great. That lights a fire under my ass and makes me work even harder. I know the when I step in that cage against him again I will have my hand raised.”

What makes you a different fighter from everyone else?
“I am a fun loving person who fights because I like to compete. I am not fighting for a paycheck…..Granted getting paid for something you do is great that is not the deciding factor of why I do this.”

For the fans, that’s never saw you fight before explain what to expect when first tuning in?
“The fans can expect to see technical expertise and myself painting a magnificent picture in the cage.”

Nick Newell and Justin Sumter
Nick Newell and Justin Sumter

You’re set to fight on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. How did you find out you were on the show? Also, how excited are you for this opportunity?
“Well, I was in a meeting (I’m a Project Manager for a Construction Company) and Nick Newell my coach gave me a call. I couldn’t answer so I sent a message that I would call him after the meeting and he messaged back “got good news”. So after the meeting, I call him and he says ‘your June 15th fight was scratched’ so I was like that’s not good news. Then he proceeds to tell me you’re on the contender series. So I am in the empty conference room like punching the air I am so excited. I have been training for seven years this July so it means the world that I can step on the world stage and showcase all my hard work off. Also, having the people that supported me every step of the way means a lot. My fiancee, my family, my friends, all have seen my dedication. Now the world gets to see it and I can not wait to show them. Make the Fort Nation much bigger!”

You will be fighting Ian Heinisch July 31st. What do you think of him as an opponent and how do you see this fight playing out?
“I think Ian is a great competitor and all around good guy. I think this is ‘the fight to watch’ on week 7. He is an aggressive striker with decent takedowns and loves to push the pace. I think that matches well with my style because I basically do the same thing. I see the fight starting out quick and fast. If it goes to decision I see it ending in my favor.”

How confident are you in getting this UFC contract?
“I’m extremely confident in my ability to get this UFC contract. Everything is falling into place and all I have to do is keep up the end of my bargain. My parents have been telling me this phrase ever since I was little. ‘If it is to be, it’s up to me’ and I plan on delivering come July 31st in Las Vegas.”

South Park or Family Guy?
“South Park of course.”

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Shawn Bitter