The UCMMA Middleweight champion Denniston Sutherland returns to the cage in a few weeks to defend his title against Jake ‘Brutal’ Bostwick at Cage Rage 25. British MMA fans are well aware of the history between these two fighters after Bostwick controversially won their last meeting back in February of 2010.
Talking ahead of the fight, Sutherland clearly wants to even things up although the Jamaican-born fighter is adamant that revenge isn’t the driving force behind his desire to come out on top.
With your next fight less than three weeks away, how is your preparation going?
Training is going really well. I’ve been working a lot on pad work at my gym with my good friend Reece Stocker and also on my fitness with Dave Scarborough. I’m also planning on getting some sessions in with David Lee and hopefully a few with my friend Brett ‘Hollywood’ Freeman. Generally though, things are going really well.
It sounds like things are going well so would it be fair to say your last fight was a bad day at the office then?
Well, although I don’t remember much about the fight, I did take a lot from it. I learned that if you so much as hesitate for a split second then you’ll pay for it. The whole thing was over so quick that I didn’t even get chance to fight. All I can recall is that I went to tap gloves and immediately my opponent Andrew Punshon was circling me. I hesitated and before I knew it he’d thrown his combo and I was sparked. It was a hard lesson to learn.
You’ll take those lessons into your next fight obviously?
Definitely. I expect Jake Bostwick to be a different fighter to the one I fought last time and I know I have to be sharp and focused or else he will make me pay. I’m twitching here waiting to get in the cage again.
Your last meeting ended in controversial style with Jake coming out on top. What did you take away from that fight?
I went into that fight with a broken rib and have since learned that if you are injured you should pull out of a fight. At the end of the day, while we all know it is a competition and we want to win, I think it is important for fighters to put on a good show for the fans as well. Regarding the actual fight, I still think I kicked his arse. He was on top; I reversed him then caught him. He complained I’d kicked him in the nuts so he got time to recover. I’ve watched the fight on YouTube since and even that doesn’t show the full fight, it just shows the parts where Jake is on top.
The other lesson I learned was not to take all the bullshit into a fight. We all know that fighters talk up a fight and the promoters hype it up but I think that was the first time that I had let that hype take over. Usually on a fight night I’ll hang out with my friends and watch some of the other fights but then, when I go backstage to warm up, I want to be on my own. That night it didn’t happen like that. I let all the hype and the bullshit take over and even walking to the cage I was chatting to friends. I wasn’t focused on what I had to do.
Even though eighteen months has passed since that fight, will the events of that night spur you on this time?
Of course I want to beat him this time but this isn’t a revenge fight. I’m not trying to make what happened such a big deal because I know Jake will put up a good fight and if I give him even a chance, he’ll be in there. My aim is to stay focused and do what I need to do to beat him.
Did you seek a rematch following your previous meeting?
No. I never go for a rematch if I get beaten. When you lose a fight you should let it motivate you. It should piss you off and you should learn from the mistakes you made.
At this stage in your career, are there any other fighters you would like to take on?
You know what? I want to fight internationally. I want to fight those fighters where you will look at the match-up and think “poor Denniston, he’s going to get battered”. That is what people were thinking when I fought Mark Weir and, no disrespect to Mark because he is a great fighter, but I beat him. Those are the fighters I want to take on, the ones who are really going to push me.
Okay Denniston, just to finish, where do you see yourself going after the Bostwick fight?
In terms of fights, I’ll leave that up to my management. Personally, I’m taking every experience and lesson and learning from it. Every lesson I learn is a beautiful lesson but, for now, I’m just keeping focused on the fight coming up.