by Damon Martin
The state of Oregon is starting to churn out more and more mixed martial arts stars seemingly by the day. With a foundation built by multi-time UFC champion, Randy Couture and Team Quest and now with his show, “Sportfight”, gaining more and more notoriety, fighters are starting to line up for the opportunity to be the next star to come out of Oregon. One of those hopefuls is Medford, Oregon native, Josh “Bring the Pain” Haynes.
Haynes has a story similar to that of UFC middleweight fighter, Joe “Diesel” Riggs, as he started his fighting career weighing over 300 lbs but now has managed to cut weight and get in true battle form and is now down to 205lbs and will get his biggest test yet when he fights in the IFC on July 30th and takes on perennial favorite, “Mr. International” Shonie Carter.
MMAWEEKLY: So for the fans that don’t know much about Josh Haynes, tell us a little bit about how you got interested in MMA and how you got your start?
JOSH HAYNES: Well, kind of like a lot of guys I guess it was just something I sort of fell into. I started training in Medford, Oregon with Mike Whitehead and he was a national champion wrestler, and he trains with the Miletich camp now. I started training with those guys and I had my first fight about 2 months after I got into it, I lost and realized quickly I had no idea what I was doing. I started putting the nose to the grindstone and putting in as much time as I could, and I rattled off in my amateur record like 11 straight wins. Took a number of titles here in the west coast and then decided it was time to go pro. I’ve been training in Medford, I’ve been contemplating moving, but I’ve got good training partners. We’ve got a really good wrestling community, but I go up to Portland all the time and train with Team Quest as frequently as possible.
MMAWEEKLY: Being from Oregon and with Team Quest in your backyard, what is it that you would say you’ve learned the most training with a team like that?
JOSH: Team Quest has a phenomenal open gym policy, as long as you set something up ahead of time. Every time I go to their school, I learn a little bit more. But I believe a fight is worth a hundred days in practice. Every time I fight, I learn so much about the game that I never could learn in practice. There’s nothing like putting the training to reality.
MMAWEEKLY: What weight class are you fighting at now?
JOSH: I started the game at about 320 lbs, I was extremely overweight, I just wasn’t in fight condition but I wanted to fight, so I started to fight. Then I took the fights that were offered to me, but the more I fought and got more serious, I noticed the changes that needed to be made. I saw tapes of myself fight and I saw the things that I needed to change and I wasn’t happy with what I saw. I fought as a heavyweight when I first started and I had my first two professional fights as a heavyweight. The first one was a tournament where I competed against “Scary” Jerry, and I was at 250 for that fight and I was just overpowered in that fight, he was just too big for me to handle. It started making that light go off in my head that I’m not cut out for heavyweight. And my next fight against Vince Lucero was the same way, just much too big for me. I mean I’m a 5’9″ guy fighting at heavyweight. I’ve recently made the move down to 205 and that’s where I see myself competing at.
MMAWEEKLY: Did you have any desire to try out for the “Ultimate Fighter” show when they were taking heavyweights?
JOSH: I absolutely did and I still do. What the “Ultimate Fighter” is doing for up and coming fighters is just phenomenal. It’s a great chance for guys to get out there and get some exposure on national TV. I’m fortunate that I didn’t get picked up because with where my weight is moving I would have had a hard time competing against a lot of the heavyweights that got picked.
MMAWEEKLY: Another fighter that has a similar story to yours as far as dropping weight from so heavy to where you are now is Joe Riggs. What is it that helped you to lose the weight and get motivated to get where you’re at now?
JOSH: I believe that most of it is diet. Eating clean is absolutely essential. It’s the quality of food that you consume that you need, not necessarily something that your body wants. I mean if you don’t need it, don’t eat it. I respect the hell out of what Joe Riggs did. I don’t care what anybody says about him as a person, I don’t know the guy, but I’ll tell you the process of what that guy did and what he had to accomplish, it’s a tough road. You’re on this emotional rollercoaster because your body is changing so much, that you start to wonder if it’s all really worth it. You look in the mirror and you look so much smaller than what you’re used to seeing. It’s beyond that, it’s the ability to push yourself to the next level. 90% of it is diet.
MMAWEEKLY: You’re fighting at the IFC show on July 30th; tell us a little bit about that show and your opponent.
JOSH: I’m actually going to be fighting Shonie Carter at the IFC on July 30th. That’s a huge fight, a huge step up in the right direction I believe. I was originally scheduled to meet-up with Tim McKenzie and he broke his hand when he viciously destroyed Bill Mahood up in Canada. I was really looking forward to that fight, I was kind of bummed; I mean I feel bad for McKenzie, but I really wanted that fight. My manager worked with IFC to find me an opponent and Shonie Carter became available. I think it’s a phenomenal match-up for me.
MMAWEEKLY: Shonie Carter has a world of experience, but what is it that you do that you think will make you a winner in that match?
JOSH: Shonie Carter is very crafty, I mean he’s got a world of experience on me; he’s been all over the world. He’s been in the fight game for a long time and I respect that. I know a little bit about him, I’ve seen his fights, he’s actually fought a couple of guys I know, but I’m coming into this fight and he doesn’t know anything about me. I’m praying to God that he takes me for granted because that would be the biggest mistake he could make. I’m coming to fight, I’m ready to go. If he’s not prepared for what I’m bringing to the table, I’m going to knock him out.
MMAWEEKLY: Where do you see yourself in the world of MMA a year from now?
JOSH: I’d like to see myself as the winner of the “Ultimate Fighter” show and fighting in the UFC. One way or the other. Taking the route the “Ultimate Fighter” show or earning it another way, I want to be in the UFC. I would love to fight overseas, but this is my home and I would love to stay here and help the sport grow in this country.
MMAWEEKLY: Any final words to anyone you’d like to thank or to your fans?
JOSH: Tapout is one of my main sponsors and I like to give a shout out to those guys and say thank you. All of my training partners and I’d like to say thanks to the fans and the friends that I’ve made out there along the way. Without the support that I get from a lot of these folks and the support I get from God, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’d also definitely like to say thank you to my wife.