TUF 14 Fight of the Season Winner Dustin Pague talks UFC on FX 3 fight with Jared Papazian (Interview)Posted on June 4, 2012, 08:37 AM by Evan Holober
TUF 14 contestant, Dustin “The Disciple” Pague Papazian will step inside the Octagon for the second time in his career, facing Jared Papazian at UFC on FX 3. Based out of Sterling, Virginia Dustin Pague is 10-5 in his MMA career, with 3 KO/TKO and 7 submission victories.
Pague got won Fight of the Season award at TUF 14 for his scrap with Louis Gaudinot, and will be looking to deliver more of the same at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida on June 8th.
Coming off a loss to John Albert in his UFC debut, “The Disciple” wants to prove he belongs in the UFC. Follow Dustin Pague on Twitter @DustinPague.
Here’s what Dustin Pague had to say about his upcoming fight at UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall II.
LK: How’s the training going for this fight?
DP: I couldn't ask for a better train up for this fight. Everything’s been going really smoothly. This is the first time ever I've had a great notice for a fight, so we were able to schedule out a perfect camp. Everything’s just been going really smoothly. I’ve had great progression with my strength and conditioning, and consistent training partners so I couldn't ask for a better train up.
LK: A lot of people don’t know that you are actually a pretty big 135lber when you’re not inside a training camp. How’s the weight been coming off? Is it easier; is it harder, how’s that going?
DP: Each fight it gets a little bit easier. I’m learning different tricks that work, and some that don’t work so this fight is probably going to be the easiest cut for me to get to 135. I’m actually walking around at the same weight I was when flying out to my first UFC fight so things are going really well.
LK: Now in your last fight you lost by TKO in first round to John Albert. What have you changed in your training camp, and preparations to make sure that doesn't happen again?
DP: I’m really focused in on my game plan. You know, I had a lot of jitters in my first… my UFC debut against John Albert. So I went in there sloppy, really open and nervous just throwing bombs trying to take his head off. I’m going to go in there and slow it down. Fight the kind of fight I usually do, pick my opponent apart, cut angles, and be really smart. I’ve been tightening up my game a lot to where I’m not exposed as much.
LK: Is there anything specific you’ve been working on, because you went 2-1 on The Ultimate Fighter and looked great in your first two fights. You cruised to an easy decision in your first match up, and pretty much dominated Louis Gaudinot. But then in your third fight you got eliminated by TJ Dillashaw where he wasn’t exactly the better all-around fighter, but he outwrestled you. What have you done to shore up those holes in your game?
DP: You know a lot of people don’t know; obviously wrestling was a huge part of that fight that I needed to work on, but a lot of it was just me going against my game plan again. We kind of figured TJ was going to take me down, but the plan was to get back to my feet and I didn't really work that. I felt comfortable off my back going for submissions, so not only have I been working on my wrestling defense with Neil Johnson he’s been helping me a lot with that, but also he has it my mind that if I do get taken down I’m fighting to get back to my feet at all costs. No matter what it takes I’m getting back to my feet. That’s kind of drilled in to my head right now, and if the fight does go to the ground it won’t be there for very long.
LK: As you were talking about Jared earlier do you expect him to want to stay on the feet, or try and take it to the ground?
DP: It’s hard to say, you know. Most of his fights are like that, he knows I like to do that so It’s going to be an exciting fight if we stand. But you always have to expect the unexpected he could always look for the take down, so I’m just going to be prepared for whatever he throws at me.
LK: Now also you've opened up your own gym recently, Disciple MMA academy. What’s it like balancing the two lifestyles of being a gym owner running your own business and also staying on top of your game as a UFC fighter and trying to climb the ranks of that organization?
DP: You know that was a big concern of ours before we opened the gym. Just making sure that my #1 goal, and my focus should be on my fight career. Uh, and it hasn't been a problem. I have great business partners, Chris Merrit, Scott Howard, John Tibbits, and great instructors at this school. So I pretty much don’t have to do much, when I’m in train up for a fight. They know my goal is to get in shape and do work in that fight, so they do a good job running things allowing me to focus on my fight career. So it’s been a blessing having them, and this facility to train in.
LK: That will about do it. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day, is there anybody you’d like to thank?
DP: I just want to thank you for having me on, and I appreciate your time. I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe God has given me these talents and gifts, so I just try to honor him the best I can. I’m very thankful for what he’s done in my life, blessed me with great family and great friends, a beautiful wife, and great training partners. I want to thank my instructors Chris Merrit, Scott Howard, my manager Brian Hanberg, Chris Valentine, Neil Johnson, Sammy Seffi, Paul Saturin, and just a bunch of great training partners you know who you are. I really appreciate you all, and I’m ready to get this win.