Craig Shintani eyes finish over Clay Dixon in Unified 35 title bout

Nov 12, 2018

Craig Shintani takes on Clay Dixon for the vacant Unified MMA Featherweight Championship in one of three title bouts on the night at Unified 35 on Dec. 7 at River Cree Resort & Casino. Before that, the fast-rising Edmonton featherweight spoke with

How did you find MMA to begin with?

I had been watching it for a while as a fan, so one day I decided to get in my car, drive to a gym and give it a shot. Not a very exciting story, but that’s how it started (laughs).

How do you feel about what you’ve accomplished so far?

I feel like I haven’t accomplished much yet. I’m pretty happy with my record — I’d like it to be better — but I feel like I have so much left to do, like I haven’t scratched the surface yet of what’s possible and what I’ve set out to do. I’m doing OK, but I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Is this the biggest fight of your career?

I think so. Every fight is getting bigger and bigger. Fighting for the Unified featherweight title is a great honour. Getting that belt wrapped around my waist would definitely be the biggest thing that I’ve ever done.

What would that belt mean to you?

It would mean everything. It’s the last eight years of my training — everything I’ve put into the sport — and I’ve worked very hard every day, all week, every month, all year. It’s all of that coming together in one night. I’m going to give it everything I can, and I’m going to leave it all on the table.

How do you see this fight playing out?

I’m going in there with a mentality of dragging it out. A lot of my fights have been quick, but I’m not trying to rush this one. I want to get more experience and test myself in all facets of the game. That said, I see myself getting a finish, ideally towards the end of the fight.

Tickets for Unified 35 on Dec. 7 at River Cree Resort & Casino, featuring three Unified MMA championship bouts, are on sale now.