Dwayne Hinds comes from a Caribbean country that is better known for its carnivals, cricket, and Calypso than producing elite-level martial artists, but the undefeated welterweight is set to represent Trinidad & Tobago on Asia’s biggest stage at ONE FC: Battle of Lions.
The 30-year-old is scheduled to take on Christophe Van Dijck at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday night (local time) and knows it is not going to be easy keeping his undefeated record intact against the decorated Belgium Judoka.
“On paper he might be the highest ranked fighter I have ever faced, but for me my next opponent is always my toughest opponent. This is MMA, you can never underestimate anyone and you always have to be prepared for everything,” he said.
Hinds made his pro debut in 2009 and boasts a decision win over UFC veteran Gideon Ray on his resume, but says the time had finally come for him to make a step up and sign with a major international MMA promotion.
“I signed with ONE FC because they’re the second largest MMA promotion in the world. It was a no-brainer and I’m very excited to be fighting in Asia for the first time. I’ve competed in North America, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe, so adding Asia to my resume helps to complete a very diverse career for me.”
Having never travelled this far to compete, Hinds realizes that he is taking something of a step into the unknown, but he is also taking steps to ensure he is able to adjust to the time difference.
“I’m a little worried about the travel and time distance. In order to compensate as best I can, I made sure to train during the hours of the event. Other than that, I’m trying not to worry about it, as it’s out of my control.”
Hinds has enjoyed success competing in numerous disciplines ranging from amateur boxing to Combat Sambo, but says that his greatest strength remains his wrestling.
“My specialty is definitely wrestling. I started wrestling when I was in high school in New Jersey and excelled at it. I broke the school record for pins and won a district title. Now I’ve been doing MMA for as long as I’ve wrestled, so I think I’m a complete fighter, but my strongest asset is probably still my wrestling.”
The ONE FC welterweight title is held by Ben Askren, who is probably the best wrestler competing in the sport at present, but Hinds has his sights set on a shot at the belt that currently belongs to the two-time NCAA Division One champion.
“I think any true fighter desires to be the champ. I don’t want to just be a gatekeeper or middle-of-the-pack guy. I’m in this to be the best and become the champ.”
Hinds is the most exciting prospect in the Caribbean at present and is the reigning welterweight champion of Caribbean Ultimate Fist Fighting (CUFF), but says that MMA is still very much in its infancy in the region.
“Boxing and Karate are pretty big in the Caribbean and now MMA is definitely on the rise. It still has a very long way to go, but we’re heading in the right direction. Football, cricket, and track are currently the big sports in Trinidad, but over the years, I have grown a little fan base of my own, not the biggest following, but they’re very loyal.”
Despite having a fan following in his native country, Hinds arrives in Singapore as a relative unknown and tells local fans to expect the following when he fights on Friday night: “Expect excitement! I might not always be in the longest fights, but they’re always fun to watch.”
Fans in Asia can catch all the action live on FOX Sports 3 while the event will be available online for US$9.99 from http://www.onefc.com/livestream.
(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter | Photo by Gary Jordan)