Justin Jaynes was well aware of the position he put himself in last Saturday night at UFC Vegas 30. The featherweight fighter made headlines when he revealed he bet his entire fight purse on himself in a decision that garnered a lot of attention — both positive and negative — from fans and pundits.
Jaynes said his decision was made solely out of self-belief, knowing that he could absolutely defeat Charles Rosa when they met on the preliminary portion of the card. However, some people found this hard to accept and began to speculate whether this was done by Jaynes for publicity. He has denied this was the case, explaining to Mike Heck of MMA Fighting during a recent interview that painting this as a publicity stunt is ridiculous.
“That’s the crazy part because people keep saying, ‘This is a publicity stunt,’” said Jaynes. “Listen, I don’t care if you believe me, I don’t care if you don’t believe me, my family knows that I [expletive] lost. Don’t you think if this was a publicity stunt I would’ve been raving about this weeks prior? There was no mention of it. I only mentioned it to the one podcast, Overtime Heroics, and I believe that might’ve been the only person I mentioned it to. Then, ESPN picked it up and it went big.
“If this was a publicity stunt, I would’ve been going crazy about it the whole time. I only mentioned it a couple of times and I barely touched on it when I did. I had no idea it was going to get this kind of hype.”
Jaynes entered the fight with his back against the wall. He was on a three-fight losing streak and needed a win over Rosa to not only keep himself on the UFC roster, but to also keep his money in his hands. Jaynes almost got that win, too, but a decision late in the third round cost him.
Jaynes rocked Rosa with a left hook and tried his best to finish the fight with a flurry of punches. Instead of continuing to pummel him, Jaynes surprisingly took the fight to the ground and opted to look for a submission over the now-fatigued Rosa. The arm triangle he secured was definitely tight, but Jaynes could not get it and the time expired.
The takedown caused quite the stir because a lot of people wondered why Jaynes would go for it when he clearly had Rosa hurt on the feet and should have kept it standing. Jaynes said he had good reason for doing so and thought he could pull it off after seeing Rosa in that kind of position before in previous fights.
“I can’t say I regret it,” said Jaynes. “On the feet, again, fatigue was setting in and my punches were slowing down. I’m not sure if I could’ve finished it. Maybe I could’ve, maybe I couldn’t have but again it’s just one of those things. The people love you if you win, they hate you if you lose. Again, if I would’ve finished the side choke after I took him down, I would’ve been the smartest fighter and my fight IQ would be through the roof. Obviously, since the submission didn’t go through, I’m the dumbest fighter in the UFC. It is what it is, man.
“I can’t say I regret what I did because that was my 72nd or 73rd MMA fight, so I feel like I do have a pretty high fight IQ,” continued Jaynes. “It just happened to be in the circumstance of after I threw that right hand, my shoulder was so close to him that it was just almost reaction to grab onto him. He went down so easy because he was rocked and I thought I could find the submission and get the dramatic win.”
Jaynes would go on to lose a split decision to Rosa in what was now his fourth straight loss since joining the UFC over a year ago. He says that he stands by everything he did before, during and after the fight and would do it all over again.
“I don’t have regrets in the bet that I placed. I don’t have regrets on the decisions I’ve made. Hopefully, me believing in myself inspired someone else to believe in their self and at the end of the day that is what I’m going to chop it up to. Money comes and goes, but belief in yourself needs to be permanent.”