LAS VEGAS – Dustin Jacoby had a taste of UFC life, but it didn’t last long. Eight years later, he’ll get to try it again.
“It’s been a real long journey, man,” Jacoby told MMA Junkie following Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 27. “I got to the UFC super quick in my career. I was two and done. It’s been emotional man. It’s crazy.”
Jacoby made his way to the UFC in 2011 in just the seventh fight of his professional career. He admits he knew he might be in a little over his head but took on the challenge. However, back-to-back losses to Chris Camozzi and Clifford Starks saw him ushered out of the promotion.
The next eight years saw him take fights with Bellator, CFFC, GLORY Kickboxing, Titan FC and WSOF, among others. It was a winding journey, but Jacoby said he never worried he wouldn’t make it back to the UFC.
“That never crossed my mind,” Jacoby said. “I’m a grinder. I go get what’s mine. I show up and work hard. Even in 2018, I had back-to-back breaks in my arm. I had to take some time off because I wasn’t getting through practices. Every day, it was hurting. I didn’t want to be that guy. I’m not that guy. So I took a little time off, but I knew I’d be back.”
On Tuesday, Jacoby (12-5) found himself in the featured contest of Dana White’s Contender Series 27 at UFC Apex. He was absolutely scintillating through the first two rounds of the contest, but opponent Ty Flores (7-3) proved an incredibly resilient foe.
“That first round, I was like, ‘Damn, this kid is staying here,’” Jacoby said. “Second round, I felt him going down, and he kind of went out, but man, unloading on him kind of zapped me.”
Jacoby clearly tired in the third, but it was somewhat understandable given his output in the first two frames, and he was forced to settle for a decision win. Despite not getting the finish, Jacoby was one of three fighters to earn a UFC deal with his performance.
Now it’s back to the UFC, and Jacoby said he’s hell-bent on earning his first octagon win after going 0-2 in his first stretch.
“It’s still a big goal of mine to get that first, official UFC win,” Jacoby said. “I’ve always been a guy that I’ll fight any fight. I fight whoever they give me. I’ve never said no to a fight. I’ve always accepted. But I would like to – I don’t know, if there’s a few strikers out there that want to throw down, put on a show for the fans? Whatever they want to do with me.”
It’s been a lengthy journey, to be sure. But eight years later, Jacoby is downright ecstatic to be back in the UFC and make good on the opportunity he’s been given. What he can accomplish in the long run, Jacoby isn’t sure. But right now, he simply wants to entertain.
“I feel like I’m a main card fighter,” Jacoby said. “Put me in there, and it’s going to be exciting. I’m going to give it my all.”