Dustin Hazelett file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Prior to his last fight against Paul “Semtex” Daley at UFC 108 in January, UFC welterweight Dustin Hazelett had to do a lot of pre-event publicity due to the fight occupying a prominent spot on event’s main card. Hazelett, who sports one of the more unique nicknames in mixed martial arts with his moniker of "McLovin,” wound up on the wrong end of a first-round knockout and was forced to the sidelines for six months due to an orbital bone injury he suffered in that fight.
He returns to the Octagon on Saturday against Rick Story in a 170-pound undercard bout at UFC 117 in Oakland, Calif., with much less fanfare, and for that, Hazelett is actually grateful.
"It was crazy doing all that stuff (before the Daley fight)," Hazelett told the Sherdog Radio Network's "Savage Dog Show" on Monday. "I'm not in this to become famous or anything. I don't like all the hype and I hate talking smack. I just do this because I enjoy competing in martial arts. Being on TV is nice and all, but it's not what I'm in it for. I just like being able to be a regular guy, not being this huge deal."
However, if Hazelett were to beat Story and start moving his way back up the UFC’s welterweight ranks, he'd be OK with being in the spotlight more often.
"I know if I become a better fighter, they're going to start promoting me more and I'm fine with that," said Hazelett. "That's what I have to do to live my dream, so I'm cool with that. I just don't like talking smack and that's something I'm not going to do. As long as they're cool with that, then I'm OK with it. If you talk smack and then get beat it makes you look even worse than if you just lose."
Fellow UFC 117 competitor and middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen has gotten Hazelett's attention with some of his pre-fight remarks. The Cincinnati native isn't happy with what Sonnen said about his coach Jorge Gurgel or with the direction MMA has gone with more pre-fight hype and trash-talking.
"When you talk all that smack and then getting KO'd, you're going to look like a fool, but that's the chance you take," said Hazelett. "For Chael, it's a big gamble because (UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva) has knocked out a lot of people. I was rooting for Chael, but then he started talking a lot of smack and talking about how Anderson's black belt from the Nogueira brothers was like getting one out of a Cracker Jack box and saying it was about as good as getting one from Jorge Gurgel. Now I'm hoping he gets knocked out.”
The reserved 24-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt would rather his performances do his talking for him.
"A lot of guys trash talk just to hype the fight and stuff like that, but I got into this because of martial arts and that's not what martial arts are about, talking smack and stuff like that. That's more pro wrestling than martial arts. When they're talking smack, I think it looks bad for the sport and sets a bad example. I don't want this sport to become pro wrestling where we have to do monologues where we talk about how we're going to beat somebody up. My previous fights should be enough to hype my next fight. If they're not, then I should remain on the undercard."