UFC Vegas 30 on June 26th is shaping up to be a stacked card, headlined by Heavyweight contenders Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov. One of the prelims will feature two featherweights looking to get back in the win column in Justin Jaynes and Charles Rosa. I had the pleasure of speaking with Jaynes ahead of the fight, and here were his responses.
Justin Jaynes (16-7 overall, 1-3 in the UFC) made a statement in his UFC debut, knocking out Frank Camacho in merely 41 seconds back in June of 2020. However, Jaynes has since dropped three consecutive fights (most recently to Devonte’ Smith in February) and is looking to get a win to save his UFC career. A true mixed martial artist, Jaynes has a balanced skillset with eight finishes by knockout and six more submissions. A fighter with the potential to be a fan-favorite, Jaynes takes every fight opportunity that comes his way and relishes short-notice bouts.
Charles Rosa (13-5 overall, 4-5 in the UFC) will be making his 10th walk to the UFC octagon on June 26th. Rosa is an elite grappler, with 8 of his 13 wins coming by submission. His most recent finish came in October of 2019 when he finished Manny Bermudez in under three minutes with an armbar. Rosa defeated Kevin Aguilar last June but is coming off a loss to Darrick Minner in February. Rosa’s career may not be on the line like Jaynes’s, but this is a massive fight for Rosa’s career trajectory.
Interview with Justin Jaynes:
Danny Podolsky: How is your eye doing after the loss?
Justin Jaynes: My eye is all good to go, man. For whatever reason, my left eye has been black and blue after competitions so that I genuinely think it’s permanently black now. I haven’t taken any damage in a few weeks, and it still has some black on it, but my eye was never damaged. It was just the orbital area around my eye that was swollen. It was a great shot by Devonte’ Smith, and honestly, it wasn’t even a hard hit; it was an open-ended slap that caused my eye to swell.
Danny Podolsky: How did this fight with Charles Rosa come together, and why did you decide to move down to Featherweight? In the long run, do you see yourself more at 145 or 155?
Justin Jaynes: This is the first time in my entire MMA career that I have been given a full fight camp at 145. I’ve attempted a couple of times on short notice [to make 145]. I walk around at 180 pounds, so trying to get down to 145 in three or four weeks is tough, and I’ve only been successful once: when I fought Gavin Tucker. This time I can put together a full team; I have the UFC working with me, a great coaching staff. My coaches, Dennis Davis, Roman Isabel, and Jake Shields, will corner me and keep me on my diet. So hopefully, this is a new Justin Jaynes that you guys get to see come June 26th.
Danny Podolsky: How much of a difference does it make stepping in on short notice vs. getting a full camp?
Justin Jaynes: I actually like short notice fights because there’s no stress. There are pros and cons to both. In a short notice fight, the only thing that concerns me is making weight because if you haven’t been dieting, it will be tough. The Monday before I called in to fight Frank Camacho for my debut, I was with my son eating Popeyes and ice cream. Although I made weight and felt good during the fight, short notices are also good because usually, you’re not sparring very hard every day like I am now, so your body is not taking too much damage. When you get into the cage to fight, you haven’t already taken any damage to your bones, hands, feet, and most importantly, to your head. With a full camp, you get to ease into your diet and pick and choose, but you’re going to have off days and take damage. Now that my career is on the line against Charles Rosa, I’m glad that we have a full camp and put everything together. Sean Shelby and Dana White are giving me the chance to fight at 145, and I genuinely feel like I can compete with the best in the world.
Danny Podolsky: I think one thing that fans will respect about you if they don’t already know you is that you are very active. This will be your fifth fight in under a calendar year with the UFC. Do you relish the mindset of taking every fight and not declining opportunities?
Justin Jaynes: Absolutely. There’s a different generation of fighters these days. Where I come from, I started doing MMA back in 2007, and people fought because they wanted to see who the best fighter would be. Now, this new generation of fighters all want to hand-pick people who will play to their styles. Whoever the UFC puts in front of me, I’m going to fight. I don’t care if they’re bigger than me or if they have 15 fights in the UFC; I’m here to knock everybody’s heads off. Now that I finally have a full camp, I’m going to be in shape, be able to press the pace, and I’m ending Charles Rosa’s career on June 26th.
Danny Podolsky: Have you gotten to watch any of Rosa’s previous fights, and is that a big part of your preparation for fighting?
Justin Jaynes: I don’t really watch a lot of film, to be honest. The thing is, when I watch film, I can get in my own head, and sometimes it just doesn’t pan out. My coaches are the ones watching film and game-planning. Unfortunately, when we take fights on short notice, we haven’t had the luxury of watching film for anyone specifically. In my last fight against Devonte’ Smith, we’re talking about a guy who is 6’3″ with a 76-inch reach while I’m 5’7″ with a 68-inch reach, and I had to get ready to strike with this guy. It’s tough to gameplan for that on five days’ notice. So I do think film is critical, but I don’t personally watch it, but my coaches do and develop the game plan.
Danny Podolsky: You talked about your coaches. How much has training at Xtreme Couture helped you in your career?
Justin Jaynes: I think it’s been incredible for me, man. I’ve met some of the best guys, and I get to train with top fighters in the world, day in and day out. I’ve personally lived at Randy Couture’s house and have learned from him myself. Getting to train with these people under the best coaching is huge for my career. There are some great gyms in Michigan, but you don’t have the names coming through like you do at Xtreme Couture. On a given day, I get to train with Dan Ige, Jake Shields, Kevin Lee, Brad Tavares, and Boston Salmon. Cody Stamann is another guy I train with; we’re both from Michigan, and I used to ref his fights. I love Michigan, but the reason I moved out of there was not because of bad coaching, but rather, in Vegas, I work at the gym, and it’s close to my house.
Danny Podolsky: Is your UFC career on the line in this fight coming off of three straight losses?
Justin Jaynes: That’s a very easy question: absolutely, my career is on the line. The UFC likes me. They like the fact that I step up and I don’t shy away from anybody. A lot of times, I could try to make these grappling exchanges, specifically against Gabriel Benitez, but I don’t want my fight to be boring. I’ve gotten to the pinnacle of combat sports, and I want everyone to be excited about my fights. My career is on the line in this fight. Charles’s career is on the line in this fight; he’s coming off of a loss as well. I’ve been an underdog four times in a row, and if Charles thinks I’m just going to roll over, then he will be sadly mistaken because I’m bringing the heat. I’m going to be on weight, I’m going to be in shape, and I’m going to smash Charles Rosa come June 26th.
Danny Podolsky: You have 16 wins, including eight knockouts and six subs for an 87% finish rate. What is it about getting the finish that you relish? Do you think of yourself as a striker or a grappler?
Justin Jaynes: I’m a mixed martial artist. So I’m not going to say that I’m better or worse at one because you need them all. Look at Khabib; if you took Khabib’s striking and Conor McGregor’s striking and asked who was the better striker, you would say that it’s Conor. However, if Conor is so much better as a striker, then why was Khabib able to drop him? Because of his wrestling. I really like striking because it’s very dynamic and high-paced, and you can end a fight with one punch. However, I have to look back at my roots and realize that I’m a college wrestler and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt. So I like both, and I think they play off of each other well.
Before Justin and I finished speaking, he also said the following regarding his contract:
Justin Jaynes: As soon as the betting line comes out between Justin Jaynes and Charles Rosa, I’m putting my entire fight contract on myself, and my coaches are doing that as well. I’m betting close to 25K that I’m winning my fight because that’s how much I believe in myself. This is all in for me, and if I lose this fight, I do not get paid and my coaches do not get paid either. And that won’t be as bad as losing my job of being in the UFC.
Danny Podolsky: Finally, I’d like to thank Justin Jaynes for taking the time to answer my questions. Make sure to watch Justin’s fight against Charles Rosa this Saturday! Make sure to follow him on social media to be apart of his journey:
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images