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Dustin Jacoby Interview Ahead of UFC Vegas 20

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UFC light heavyweight Dustin Jacoby faces Maxim Grishin at UFC Vegas 20. The former Glory kickboxer has truly “been through it to get to it.” In this Dustin Jacoby interview, I discuss his career journey, his upcoming match-up, and much more.

Jacoby entered the UFC back in 2011 after beginning his professional career 6-0. After suffering back-to-back losses out of the gates, the Colorado native was cut. Just 23 years old at that point, it appeared as though Jacoby’s UFC career was already finished.

Through sheer grind and dedication, Jacoby worked his way to earning a Dana White’s Contender Series bout last August – and he was not about to let this opportunity slip through his hands. He secured the victory, as well as the contract, by defeating Ty Flores via unanimous decision. “The Hanyak” revealed to us that, despite earning the contract, the weighted pressure wasn’t entirely lifted off his shoulders just yet.

Dustin Jacoby Interview

Dustin Jacoby punching Ty Flores. Dustin Jacoby interview
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 04: (R-L) Dustin Jacoby punches Ty Flores in their light heavyweight bout during Dana White’s Contender Series season 4 week one at UFC APEX on August 04, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC)

“Oh man it was unbelievable and I was happy of course,” he said regarding winning the contract, “But I’ll tell you one thing, the even greater feeling, and the real thriller, was when I got that first UFC victory. That was a decade in the making, with a lot of hard work, broken bones, injuries, tears, and wins and losses. It was just a whole bunch of emotions piled up in one. So, when I got my hand raised and earned that first official UFC victory, it was pretty emotional man. I even get emotional just thinking about it.”

Hard to blame Jacoby for getting emotional after the completion of a journey nearly 10 years in the making. I asked Jacoby if he could provide some first-hand details of the dedication it took to never give up along the way.

“Yeah man, it’s been pretty remarkable when I take a step back and think about it,” he replied. “It’s been quite the journey, man, quite the run. Back then I was so hellbent on getting to the UFC, and there was no doubt in my mind I was going to get there. I turned pro in 2010 and less than a year later I made it to the UFC. I thought right then that I made it, and little did I know the journey was just starting.”

Although he didn’t originally plan for his career to pan out the way it did, Jacoby seems grateful for the difficult path taken because it made him who he is today.

“It’s been an incredible ride man with a lot of ups and downs,” Jacoby explained. “I’ve definitely been through it to get to it – all of those experiences and trials and tribulations have led me to where I am today. I knew after I got cut that I just had to put my head down and keep grinding. Out of nowhere came this Glory kickboxing opportunity. I won that tournament and then had a beautiful six-year career with Glory that ended with a world title opportunity. It’s all been worth it man.”

Through all of the ups and downs over the past decade, his wife Kahla has been by his side. Being that this Dustin Jacoby interview was the day after Valentine’s Day, I had to ask him how important it’s been to have her being his biggest supporter.

“She’s been with me all of my career, even into my amateur days,” he answered. “We’ve been together about 13 years now and yeah we’ve been together since about three or four months before my first amateur fight – she thought I was crazy. It’s huge though man, she’s been my support system since the beginning. She’s been there through all the ups, all the downs, and everything in between. She’s supported me the entire way – it makes a huge difference in what I’m able to do.”

Dustin Jacoby Interview Cont.

Dustin Jacoby punching Justin Ledet. Dustin Jacoby interview
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 31: (R-L) Dustin Jacoby punches Justin Ledet in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Well, fast forward to present day and we have Jacoby vs Grishin at UFC Vegas 20. “The Hanyak” feels fortunate to have stability while in the midst of unstable times.

“With the state of where we’re at with the COVID era and all of the uncertainty going on, there’s been a lot of short-notice fights,” Jacoby stated, “And there hasn’t been a lot of actual camps, but fortunately for myself, COVID pushed back my Contender Series fight so I basically trained eight months for that fight. Then, like four days after that fight, I got word of my next fight, which was like nine weeks down the road so I had a full training camp. Then this fight, I caught wind like seven weeks ago. So I’ve been fortunate man to have back-to-back full training camps to work with things that are specific towards the match-up.”

Many fans are looking forward to the stylistic match-up that Jacoby vs Grishin presents us with. In this Dustin Jacoby interview, the light heavyweight agreed that this will be a fight the fans will want to watch.

“I think it’s a great match-up,” he confirmed, “I think it’s a fan-friendly match-up because you’ve got two heavy strikers going in there trying to take each other’s blocks off. I think he’s a crafty veteran – he’s 31-8 – he’s been around the game for a while. He’s fought for PFL, he’s got victories in the UFC. I’m excited to face a guy like him man. I think my speed is really going to show in this fight. I think I’m quicker and I know I have the power to knock him out. That’s an advantage I have after moving up to 205lbs.”

Jacoby trains in Colorado at Factory X and Landow Performance, and he gives them a ton of credit for where he is today as a martial artist. He specifically made sure to note coach Marc Montoya’s involvement in his improvement as a fighter.

Marc Montoya and wife Jarah Montoya
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 03: Marc Montoya (L) and Jarah Montoya from Factory X attend the 11th annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards at Palms Casino Resort on July 3, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“I train at Factory X and then Landow Performance for strength and conditioning training,” he said, “Which is a huge key for the success I’ve had in my career as well. It’s been huge for my career though man, our leader Marc Montoya is a really good mentor and a friend of mine. He’s a guy I really look up to and a guy I really feel comfortable having my back, and the culture he’s built is unparalleled. It grows from the bottom up, getting young fighters to buy into the system.”

Make sure to catch Jacoby vs Grishin this weekend at UFC Vegas 20! “The Hanyak” looks to make it two in a row since re-entering the UFC last year. Check out our page for more content like this Dustin Jacoby interview!


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Featured Image Credit to Embed from Getty Images.

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Ryan Truland is an experienced MMA writer for Overtimeheroics.net. Ryan regularly conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date with the latest and greatest MMA content.