On June 23, Joey Elzea took his act to Hawaii and came away with a split decision win against a tough hometown hero in Ryan Dela Cruz, which improved his record to 5-0. After the decision was announced, the crowd was not happy.
“There was a lot of angry people in the crowd when I won, they were booing and whatnot.”
The fight turned out differently than Elzea expected, he thought he’d have to take the kickboxer down to win the fight, but his own kickboxing made him a winner.
“I expected that my best way to win was to try and get him down and it ended up being a kickboxing match pretty much for all three rounds, we went to the ground only one time in the third round.”
Though he has confidence in his striking, he is known more for his impressive grappling, but after this fight, he believes it will give him confidence in his kickboxing for future fights.
“I think in the future, it will be a way to reaffirm myself. When you’re leading up to the fight, in the hours before the fight, there is a lot of self-talk, “I can do this, blah blah blah,” in a way it will help me in the future.”
Elzea will be able to use that confidence on September 15 when he defends his flyweight Dominate FC title against Brandon Monteith. Monteith, has a record of 2-2 which Elzea said doesn’t make it terribly exciting to face him. But, Elzea finds motivation in the fact that he has a fight, something he had trouble getting the past two years.
“Honestly, I’m happy just to have a fight, to be honest. 2016 and 2017 it was really hard, I couldn’t find fights, they seem to be popping up a lot more this year so I’m really happy about that.”
A trick that Elzea uses to not overlook any of his opponents is to visualize them at their best and that is what he is doing with Monteith.
“I just assume that whenever I fight someone, they’re going to be as good as they’ve ever been or better then they I’ve seen in the past.”
“It’s probably just a mental trick or something like that, but it seems to work for me. It’s a pretty good motivator.”
Another motivator for Elzea is that the fight is five rounds. He once had a problem with endurance as an amateur fighter but since then he says he has made his endurance one of his strongest attributes.
“All of the motivation I need is the fact that it is a five-round fight. That’s terrifying. Fighting for five five-minute rounds is absolutely awful. As an amateur, fighting for three, three-minute rounds sucked just kinda build up from there but five, five-minute rounds is scarier than my opponent. Cause nothing is worse than gassing out in a fight. That’s the absolute worst feeling.”
“I gassed in maybe my second or third amateur fight, and then from there on out, conditioning was always a priority and I’ve never had a problem with it since.”
If he is able to get the win in this fight, preferably a submission win (though he doesn’t like to go in thinking of a particular way to win) Elzea would be 6-0. He has a few ideas of what he’d like afterwards. One involves facing an opponent his teammate Tycen Lynn lost to. On the same fight card in Hawaii, Lynn faced UFC veteran Louis Smolka and was defeated. Elzea would like a chance at the UFC veteran as well.
“I definitely would like to.”
“If I got the opportunity that would be cool, and I think I could submit him as well.”
Another opportunity Elzea would like is a spot on the Contender Series and he believes he isn’t far away from it.
“I would really like to get a chance to fight on the Contender Series, I think that would be really awesome. I think if I can put together a few more wins I think that it’s a definite possibility.”
Before he gets that opportunity, you can tune in to watch Elzea September 15 at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington.