- How did you get into MMA
DJ: “I started doing Jiujitsu and Kickboxing at the age of 11 when I was introduced to them at school. It seemed natural to me to put the two together, because I needed to learn all aspects if I wanted to be a true martial artist. I did this until I was 21 years old, when I began competing in MMA.”
- Riding a 2 fight losing streak, what alterations have you made in preparation for this camp?
DJ: “In retrospect, I now realize that I was still finding my feet in EFC in the last two fights. Even though I lost, the first war was great! It was an amazing fight that I earned a bonus for. I felt the enormous energy of the whole night, which was a lot to take in for the first time.
Although I felt fit enough for my second fight, I had injuries which weighed heavily on my mind. The injuries, along with the weight cut, made me very slow and this affected my durability and thinking.
I have no preconceived ideas this time round. I’m very comfortable with where I am, and I believe I’m going to show up fully for this fight. I’m laser focused on the task at hand, and making the most of my capabilities.”
- This will be your first time fighting in Johannesburg, have you considered the altitude and what do expect from your first fighting trip up here?
DJ: “I have considered all factors, including the altitude, and I am confident that I will be able to adapt well. I often mix up my training with different variables to keep me sharp and prepared for anything. I expect to have to work harder than I ever have before, and I’m ready for that.”
- Do you feel your back is against the wall with 2 straight losses?
DJ: “No, not at all. In fact, I’m more prepared than ever. I understand why I lost and I know what I am capable of. I always come to fight.
There is something that life gives you to deal with in every fight. Life happens outside of the cage, and there will always be challenges that fighters need to deal with. I’ve realized there is always a way to win – you just need to take advantage of every opportunity which is thrown your way.”
- What do you make of Tommy Strydom as an opponent, coming off an impressive TKO victory?
DJ: “I think Tommy is a great opponent, I’m thankful for anyone that’s willing to get in there. It’s not something that many people do, and without good opponents we aren’t able to do what we all love at the end of the day. I know he’s coming to fight and we won’t run from each other. That’s all I could ask for – an opponent that’s as game as I am.
- What message do you have for your opponent for fight night?
DJ: “Come ready to bang, this is going to be an all-out war.”
- Tell us a bit about your camp and team, who’s involved, where are you based and what your training is like
DJ: “I always like to train hard and fight easy. The last time that I fought was the first time that I had cut down to featherweight. It was a huge learning curve because we had a lot of things to learn, and figure out. This time it has been business as usual. I have a lot more energy and my body is feeling great. I’m going to show up like I do every day and there is nothing more to it. I train out of Supreme Martial Arts in Durbanville where we have a lot of great sparring partners. As part of my training I like to switch it up and bring in different partners.
I was fortunate enough to spend a few months in England at the beginning of the year and I trained with a lot of really talented guys at different dojo’s. I learnt a lot and I feel that really helped me to improve my game.”
- How would you describe your fight style?
DJ: “My style is always evolving. I’m a different fighter every day so you’ll have to wait and see.”