Justin Sumter is just mere days away from the biggest fight of his professional MMA career.
Sumter (6-1 MMA) is set to take on Ian Heinisch (10-1) on the upcoming week’s edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in a middleweight contest. The winner could be rewarded with a UFC contract if they win impressively. Sumter feels he just needs to win in order to impress White, Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard, as his style will do the rest.
“They want to see an exciting fight, a spectacular finish with good skill, but that’s what I bring with me every time I step into the cage,” Sumter told MMASucka. “With my style and how it matches up with Ian, any win against him will be a showcase of my talent and skill. I definitely know I’m going to get that contract.”
Sumter has gone on to win six in a row since dropping his pro debut. His biggest wins have come against Roger Carroll and Abe Pitrowski. However, Heinisch has the edges in experience and strength of schedule. His victories have seen him capture gold in LFA and Sparta Combat League.
Heinisch’s past successes have insulated him as a massive favorite heading into the fight. On Tapology, 92 percent of 83 predictors are backing Heinisch to defeat Sumter, as of Friday. None of that fazes Sumter, though.
“I love being the underdog,” he said. “I kind of knew that I was going to be the underdog. They look at my record of being less experienced, but that just means my friends who bet on me will make a lot of money.”
Sumter and the New England scene
Sumter, largely a product of CES MMA, has been toiling among the New England fight scene for the past two years. In fact, this could be the New England MMA scene’s last chance to earn a UFC contract on the Contender Series this year. Tim Caron, Sean Lally, Rico DiSciullo, Greg Rebello and Nick Newell were defeated in their Contender Series bouts. Breaking the curse is now a torch that Sumter bears.
“I want to showcase Connecticut as well as New England MMA,” Sumter said. “We have high class fighters here. I want to show that the skill is phenomenal and scary at times, and we put on a show. That’s what I’m going out there to show.”
Sumter also wants to make himself known outside of the New England fight scene. What better way then to win impressively on a UFC Fight Pass show, earn a UFC contract and compete on live television?
“I put a lot of hard work and energy into the sport,” he said. “I’m showcasing it now to part of the world, but I want to be world-wide known. This will be the next step for me to spread my wings and let more people see me.”
It starts with Dana White and co. seeing him, which Sumter called an honor. Now he just has to make good on it.