Joaquin Buckley has had his share of viral moments since joining the UFC, including one of the best knockouts in recent memory against Impa Kasanganay back at UFC Fight Night 179. With a repertoire of highlight-reel finishes, it’s easy to see why Buckley has drawn so much attention as an exciting middleweight prospect. However, leading up to UFC Vegas 49, attention was on Joaquin for a different set of circumstances: namely, who would be in his corner during his bout against Abdul Razak Alhassan.
D.U.S.T Commander Dale Brown has been a polarizing figure in the combat sports community. His viral self-defense videos have garnered a fair share of criticism for their real-world applicability. So, when Buckley announced that Brown would be cornering him for the February 19th bout, more than a few eyebrows were raised across the MMA landscape.
Even more questions were asked by fans and fellow fighters alike: was this all a publicity stunt? Would Buckley be using any of Brown’s techniques or advice in the Octagon? How did this partnership initially come together?
How Did the Joaquin Buckley/ Dale Brown Partnership Begin?
Dale Brown had been making recent waves across the MMA community, earning criticism from UFC fighters such as Tai Tuivasa for his controversial methods. Buckley heard these rumors and decided to put Dale Brown and his Detroit area school to the test. After attending Brown’s self-defense academy, Buckley not only became a believer but took note of all the attention both parties received by working together. The rest, as Buckley says, is history:
“We just started brainstorming, what if I put this man in my corner? What type of impact would that make… I reached out to him and was like, ‘Hey, would you be cool being in my corner?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, I think we’ll pretty much blow up the internet,’ which we did. It went crazy.”Buckley on the MMA Hour
Buckley understands the business of being a professional fighter and saw another opportunity to promote himself in MMA’s biggest organization. However, according to Buckley, there were additional benefits beyond having a viral character in his corner. He fully believes in the legitimacy of Dale Brown and D.U.S.T. and firmly encourages others to buy into Brown’s program and legacy. “Shout out to Dale Brown… he’s legit in the self-defense and security game [for] like 26 years. He was a military paratrooper, he knows what he’s talking about. He’s been in the game for a minute.”
The fight itself played out similarly to what many expected, as Joaquin outpaced Razak Alhassan in a grueling split decision win: there were no unorthodox self-defense techniques and some light mental coaching from Brown. When asked post-fight, Buckley defended his decision during an interview on the MMA Hour and was pleased with the outcome of having Brown as his cornerman.
More interestingly, he revealed that Brown provided some beneficial advice in between rounds that helped him secure the win: “It was really just to get attention for the fight, but he did give me some good advice,” he said. “It was more mental, telling me I had more commitment than the fighter that is fighting me, that I put in more work, and that what he was trying to take away from [me] is [my] life.”
Although we didn’t see any of Brown’s techniques used in the Octagon, Buckley actively encourages others to seek Brown and his program out, and provided further testimony to its legitimacy, telling Ariel Helwani: “You can definitely use these [moves] on streets. Whatever it takes, whatever you got to do to get yourself out of a certain situation — eye gouge, elbows, joint manipulation — those things will work in an actual fight, definitely when you’re talking about someone who has never trained in combat.”
Whether or not Brown’s techniques will work in a street fight or not, it is undeniable that Joaquin Buckley will go the extra mile to promote himself and command attention in a division full of exciting and interesting characters. Couple that with his ability to provide highlight-reel finishes, it’s expected that Buckley will innovate and find new ways to generate headlines.
How will Joaquin Buckley go viral next? Let us know in the comments below!
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