Dustin Jacoby has won four consecutive appearances, and five of his last six. This Saturday at UFC Vegas 63, he enters the last fight of his contract with the UFC. Currently ranked 13th in the light heavyweight division, he can cash in with a win over Khalil Rountree Jr.
This is actually a matchup that Jacoby (18-5-1) asked for earlier this year, but Rountree (11-5-0) declined. Both fighters won their next appearances and made it happen this time around. Still, Jacoby is taking the initial slight with him into the Octagon at the UFC APEX.
Dustin Jacoby Was Snubbed by Khalil Rountree and Will Remind Him of It
“Yeah, he turned me down for that fight, Michal stepped up. I ended up winning that fight and of course, I got the big finish against Da-un Jung. I wanted a higher-ranked opponent, and I asked for Volkan Oezdemir. He had just beat Paul Craig about the same time that I beat Da-un Jung, and he was asking for a higher-ranked opponent, which is, you know, rightfully so.
When you’re in the top 10, you’re not really looking at number 13 or 14, you’re looking at, you know, four, five, six – anybody ahead of you. So, he declined respectfully, and then they offered Khalil again and I said, ‘Of course, if that’s the matchup you want to give me’ and he accepted this time. I don’t know what changed from earlier this year to here, but here we are. It’s a great matchup, and he’s a very tough opponent. He’s got a lot of power and I’m looking forward to going there and getting the job done.”
Ultimately, Rountree passing on the fight earlier this year paid off well for Jacoby. He earned a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his first-round TKO of Jung at UFC Long Island. Looking forward to the opportunity to face Rountree, the Denver native is prepared for a battle and hoping to cash in big again.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be a great fight,” he told AAMMA. “I’ll tell ya what, I tasted that performance bonus in my last fight. I’m very eager and I’m going to be doing everything I can to get another one of those.”
“I think it’s gonna be a tough fight. I think Khalil’s gonna come out super tough, I think it’s gonna be a tough Round 1, but there’s no doubt in my mind, I think I can break Khalil. I think that I can get the better of the stand-up, I can get the better of the cage-work and I can get the better of the ground. So, I’m certainly looking to go in there and finish the fight no matter what, do whatever it takes to finish, and I think I will get the job done.”
What’s Next for Dustin Jacoby in the UFC?
There almost isn’t a better time to go into a contract negotiation than riding a winning streak and knocking on the door of the top 10, and that’s exactly where Jacoby is entering UFC Vegas 63. While he was hoping to have his opportunity to break through already, he’s not upset with the UFC for the opponents he’s been given.
“I do feel a little disrespected,” he told AAMMA when asked about his recent partners in the Octagon, “but at the same time, I feel like the UFC’s giving me fun matchups.”
“They’re giving me favorable matchups. You know, I can’t argue with the matchups. I thought I had a tough test against Da-un Jung, you know. He’s an up-and-comer North Korean guy. He was 4-0 in the UFC, 15-fight unbeaten streak. I thought that it’s easier to push a guy like that has a whole country behind him. I went out there and defended the turf once again, man, and I think they give me a high-profile matchup in Khalil. You know, a guy that goes out there and looks like a monster or not.”
Any athlete will tell you that the most important contest is the one in front of them. For Jacoby, that is Rountree. From there, things will take care of themselves.
“You know, if I can go out there and get a win, I think I can break into the top 10. Yeah, I feel a little disrespected by the fans and people that don’t really throw that much attention on that, but at the same time, I enjoy working in silence, moving in silence, working in the dark. As long as I keep winning and cashing my checks, my life’s good, I’m happy. So, the fame and the fortune, that all comes. I’ve just got to keep winning fights.”