Justin Jaynes (16-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will look to return to the win column when he fights Gabriel Benitez (21-8 MMA, 5-4 UFC) at UFC Vegas 16 on Dec. 5.
“I like the match-up because Benitez doesn’t have any interest in wrestling, or at least I’d like to think he doesn’t,” Jaynes told MMASucka. “I’ll tell you, I’ll tell him and I’ll tell the world, I don’t have any interest in wrestling. I have all my interest in knocking him out.”
Benitez will mark Jaynes’ second consecutive southpaw opponent, as “Guitar Hero” is coming off a loss to Gavin Tucker. Jaynes believes Tucker to be a better version of Benitez, though Benitez’s two inches in height on Tucker will make the range different.
Overall, Jaynes has been training to fight southpaws since July.
“It just translates over to the next match-up, and I’m super excited about it,” Jaynes said. “[Benitez] is a long, rangy striker with really heavy left kicks. It has Fight of the Night written all over it. One of us is getting knocked out.”
While Jaynes and Benitez are normally featherweights, their bout will be contested at lightweight. The two were originally slated to dance on Nov. 14 before they both contracted COVID-19. Having been forced to sit on the couch for two weeks, Jaynes equates the build-up to his third short-notice scrap in as many UFC appearances.
“All that training I was doing getting ready for Nov. 14 doesn’t translate over to Dec. 5,” he said. “It’s like starting a new camp, basically. Starting my cardio and strength process all over again. The game plan is still the same: Hit him harder than he hits me. But with that being said, I’m hoping in the future, especially in 2021, the UFC will give me a legit chance to get my weight down and a full six to eight-week camp so I’ll be able to perform at my best.”
That best includes knocking people unconscious. That’s Jaynes’ plan any time he enters the Octagon, despite his four years of collegiate wrestling.
“Everyone thinks that I want to come in and wrestle. You can look at my fights, man. Now that I’m in the UFC and established, and now that I’m making a payday where I can actually pay bills, I’m here to have fun. I’m here to knock everybody’s fucking head off. I want to hit him, and I want the doctor waking him up every time.”
Jaynes’ fighting style doesn’t come without self-admitted risks. He has to be in shape to make his aggressive, fast-paced striking work. He opens himself up to counters as well.
“Honestly, Benitez is a good style to beat me,” Jaynes said. “He plays the outside, he picks his shots. I’m telling you, him, Dana [White] and Sean [Shelby], I’m coming forward and slinging leather. This will be an exciting fight; don’t blink. He might get knocked out, I might get knocked out. But hopefully, by the end of the night, both of us are going home with an extra $50K in our pocket for Fight of the Night.”
Jaynes said winning is the most important to him. However, he wants his exciting style to translate into fan support.
“I want the fans to see my name on the card and say, ‘Oh, this motherfucker’s going to bang. Let’s go!’ That’s how I want my legacy and career to go. When people see my name and think Justin Jaynes, I want them to know that win or lose, this guy is coming to swing.”
Jaynes called Benitez the most seasoned, high-credentialed guy he’s fought yet. “Moggly” has more UFC experience than Frank Camacho had when Jaynes debuted against him. Jaynes feels if he defeats Benitez, he’s roughly two more wins away from a top-15 featherweight.
Assuming Jaynes defeats Benitez, he has a couple of opponents in mind for his next bout: Austin Hubbard or Clay Guida, who Jaynes called a “legend of the sport.” Once he gets on a winning streak, he wants another crack at Tucker on a full camp.
He has to get by Benitez first, however.
“I’m going to finish Gabriel Benitez by TKO or knockout in the first round,” Jaynes predicted.
UFC Vegas 16 is slated to go down Saturday, Dec. 5 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
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