Top New England prospect Justin Valentin is back in action at CES 55, trying to improve to 3-0 as a pro on March 29 in Hartford, CT, LIVE on UFC Fight Pass. Before that, the fast-rising Connecticut flyweight spoke with FightBook MMA.
How did you find MMA to begin with?
I’ve been watching the UFC since about 2005. My cousins basically introduced me to it — Robert Rios and Johnny Lopez, who are two local fighters on the scene as well.
What is it that makes you want to be a part of this sport?
Well, I’ve always been involved in sports growing up — basketball, baseball, football. I like the competition. I went to school for a few years, got a job at a factory, and I needed something to do. I needed something to do besides just going to work and hanging out.
You were 5-1 as an amateur before your pro debut and you’re now 2-0. Are you at all surprised by the success you’ve found in MMA?
A little bit yes and a little bit no. I’ve always had a bunch of great people around me — so many good guys — and that’s where my confidence comes from. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve done if I didn’t have these guys around me.
How excited are you to fight in your home state?
I’m amped, man — I’m really amped right now! The venue is about 30 minutes from my house, 10 minutes from the gym, so this is going to be a bit of a coming-out party for me, honestly. I’m really happy CES could give me this opportunity.
What are the pros and cons of fighting at home?
The crowd support is going to be amazing. A con for some people would be the pressure, but I love it. I feed off the pressure and the energy of the crowd. Win, lose or draw, I love competing.
What should your fans expect?
Expect a finish. I was really hunting for a finish in my last fight but I couldn’t get it. A decision win is bittersweet, you know? I had to go back to the drawing board to see where I had opportunities to finish, and I missed them. Friday you’re definitely going to see a finish.