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Dustin Joynson

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Dustin Joynson on Hugo Cunha, ONE: Bad Blood, and Sophomore ONE Bout

Dustin Joynson clashes with Hugo Cunha at ONE: Bad Blood on February 11th. This heavyweight collision goes down at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

I spoke with Joynson ahead of this bout and excerpts from our chat are below.


How the last Singapore trip compared to the tumultuous first foray out there

“It was better. it’s still hard being there. It kind of gave me like PTSD when I landed. You’re still trapped inside the hotel, but at least I was only there for about nine, ten days instead of a month. And I did have access to the pool, to the gym, and wherever else. I can order my own food. But it does suck being locked out of the city. The biggest thing I love about fighting is traveling city to city and getting to explore as I’m there. That has not happened.”

The feelings from the ONE Championship debut against Kirill Grishenko

“I mean, obviously that was my first loss. And I should have known what to expect. I mean, I didn’t realize he was like a gold medalist in wrestling. I just thought he like did some whatever. And then I heard that he was also the coach for the Belarus wrestling team. I’m like ah, that’s great. But yeah, he did what he was trying to do.”

“He took me down in the first and was strong. I fought it a bunch, I got up a few times, but was pretty relentless with it. But when we were on the ground, I don’t know, I was having these weird thoughts. Because I know the rules in ONE are different like you can knee to the face.”

“So a lot of times I would just roll up to my knees and try to get up. But I’m like man, I do not want to roll to my knees and get stuck in that position. I kept thinking of that stuff. I think it was kind of messing with me and maybe I was overthinking it. So I kind of tried to do what I could. Just not take damage on the ground and whatever. Maybe they’d stand us up because not a lot happened. But you know, I made it through that round. That was the thing because of his wrestling.”

Dustin Joynson

“Going into the second round, I was a bit hesitant to get close to him because I didn’t want him to grab me again. And then he did catch me with a right. That kind of rocked me a bit but at the same time, I wasn’t out of it. And I was backing up because normally I clinch onto guys. But I know he’s a medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling. So I don’t want to clinch with him because he’ll probably put me on my ass again. So I was trying to think what I should do at the same time trying to move my head and dodge punches.”

Dustin Joynson continued, “Eventually, I snapped back into it and things picked up from there. From there, I knew I was down. So I had to go for it and I did. I put a beating on him in the third one and made him run away from me. You can see he was gassed. My cardio still felt great. I was trying to finish him but you know, it’s the fight game whatever. I’m happy with how things turned out at the end of the fight. Because I was able to show that I can come back and I can be dominant as well.”

How many had the perception that Dustin Joynson introduced himself well to the ONE Championship heavyweight ranks even in defeat

“I know for myself, I remember when that first round was over and I was getting up. Was thinking to myself, Man, that was embarrassing. Everyone just saw that. I don’t know why I think of that stuff. In the middle of a fight, I think of things like that. People just saw that. I’m like don’t get knocked out. I remember when he hit me too and was coming at me. In my head, I’m like, don’t get knocked out here.”

“Just keep moving, keep dodging. I’m like wait for him to stop punching and then make your move. But he blew his whole load on trying to knock me out in that second round. Which was kind of good, I guess. Because he wasn’t really tagging me with anything. He hit me every few shots, he might slip one in. But I’m still rolling and moving with it. So he’s not getting much off it. But at least I showed I can take a punch.”

If it’s difficult to integrate facets of the ONE global ruleset into his training processes

“It’s funny, we were doing our drilling today. I was doing wrestling with my coach. I’m putting him on the cage and putting him on the wall. He’s like throw punches, throw punches. I’m like, don’t forget man, I threw a few knees to the pads to the head. I’m like I can still knee you to the face remember? He’s like, oh yeah. We all kind of forget about that. Everyone that I train with, we all fight North America mostly. That’s not a big ruleset. It’s kind of hard to put that into your training. So it’s one thing I need to really try and focus on.”

ONE: Bad Blood

Joynson’s unique choice for his corner this time out

“My wife, because everyone else couldn’t make it.”

“No, she has never cornered me. She doesn’t do any martial arts. During the pandemic when everything was on lockdown for two weeks. She did hold pads for me once in the basement, so watch out.”

“Everyone said they’d be there and then last minute they were like oh, I can’t go. Then I heard that a few times. So I had nobody. So I said well, babe. I got nobody, you want to corner me? Of course, she will. Trip with me to Singapore, hang out in the hotel, eat some food hopefully with any luck be allowed out in the city. But you know, I’m not holding my breath. She’s always been good with calming my nerves.”

“I remember when I fought (Caio) Machado for the BFL title. She hung out at my hotel and she hung out backstage with me all the way up until we walked out. She even walked out, she just sat cageside. But having her there, I remember just being pretty calm for the most part. My nerves obviously go up but she’s good about calming me down. Especially in the last fight like I was pretty, pretty nervous going into that one. I’m always pretty nervous going into any fight but you know big stage, whatever.”

Dustin Joynson continued, “It worked for Mike Perry, right? He had his girlfriend corner him and I’m having my wife. Just different leagues, but same scenario. I just told her, if you see me dropping my hands just yell out, put your hands up. If you see me not doing anything or being very active, yell out something like make it happen. Like, do something or whatever. Let’s work, let’s do something. I’m like, I don’t need you to say anything else. I know how to fight. It’s not new to me. I know what I’m looking for. If we hit the ground, she’s gonna have no clue what to yell out.”

ONE Championship

Thoughts on the main stylistic proclivities of Hugo Cunha leading into ONE: Bad Blood

“He seems pretty well-rounded. Whatever, kickboxer. He’s a tall dude, I think he’s like my height. Maybe like an inch shorter, six-four or six-five. From what I’ve seen, it’s nothing like I’ve never dealt with before. Machado was a kickboxer who had 17 Pro Thai fights or whatever. He was a southpaw and I didn’t even know that going into that fight. It’s just another fight.”

Thoughts on the Kirill Grishenko vs Anatoly Malykhin interim title bout 

“Obviously, hope he wins. It’s kind of heartbreaking to know that there’s probably a chance that that would have been me. Had I won, fighting for the belt. As for the interim belt itself, I don’t know. I kind of figured Arjan (Bhullar) probably wasn’t gonna want to defend it to begin with. I still don’t think he will. Who knows? We’ll see. I know he was like contract disputes. Basically, he just wants more money. That’s what it always is. But whatever.”

“I mean, that makes for an exciting fight. People love the belt. People want shiny new things. So I would have done it if they would have asked. I’m hoping that he wins and I win and then we can rematch. That way if Arjan doesn’t want to fight and they keep that interim belt going a little longer, I’ll fight him for the interim belt too.”

Joynson’s placement in the heavyweight hierarchy

Dustin Joynson continued, “That’s kind of cool, I guess. I mean, I wouldn’t have looked at myself like that. Just because to me, like who am I? I’m just some guy that trains in Victoria (BC) in a basement. So I don’t really have any high credentials to my name. I don’t feel I do anyway. So to be even thought of in that sense was kind of awesome.”

“I’ve also heard talks of like Buchecha calling me out. Or saying I’m on his list of people he wants to fight and I’m like, why? I guess it’s kind of funny. This guy, he’s got millions of followers. And no one knows who I am. But at least he knows who I am. While everyone’s thinking of him, he’s thinking of me. And that’s kind of nice.”

Parting thoughts for Dustin Joynson

“Yeah, thank you to my sponsors. Spitfire Grill, Universal Supplements, and JRP Cement Finishing. And my team TFA, Dodge Management. And Hood Rich Jiu-Jitsu. Thank you for having me on here.”

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