When most people think back, they realize that their idea of the perfect life has changed over time. Ideas on the kind of family you want and the place you'll eventually live are just some of the things that tend to vary depending on time and circumstance. Of course, there's also the lifelong important decision of choosing a career. For many, the idea of the perfect job tends to change as often as the weather.
Except if you're one of those rare people that knew a job was for you upon sight. Such appears to have been the case for 22 year old MMA fighter, Dustin Hazelett.
"I was real young when I knew I wanted to fight," he told MMAFighting.com's Robert Rousseau. "I was a teenager (when) I saw the UFC, and I was like man that's awesome. I've got to do that. It was like the greatest thing ever." Along with this, at the early age of 16 Hazelett started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Still, it wasn't a completely straight line to the fight game for him. After graduating high school, he continued his education at Marshall University. But that hardly killed the dream.
"When I was in college, the whole time I had no clue what I wanted to do when I graduated. The only thing I knew was I wanted a job that was going to continue to allow me to continue to fight."
Eventually, Hazelett realized he could make a living fighting after traveling to Cincinnati and visiting Jorge Gurgel's MMA Academy one summer. This realization caused him to drop out of college in order to put his best foot forward in the fight game, figuring that he could always go back if the attempt failed.
But Hazelett has not failed at fighting. Rather, he's one of the youngest and brightest welterweight prospects in the UFC. He won his first UFC fight by decision at age 20 over Diego Saraiva. Then he won two straight by submission before taking on former TUF 1 participant, Josh Koscheck. Though Koscheck won the fight, in the end Hazelett fought well enough to turn some heads.
In his most recent fights against Josh Burkman (flying armbar) and Tamdan McCrory (reverse armbar) Hazelett has put himself on the map as one of the most exciting submission fighters in the game today.
"Anytime I can pull off a submission that's very elaborate or very cool, I won't hesitate to do it," he says. "But I don't really go looking for them (spectacular submissions). They just kind of presented themselves and I took the opportunity."
Speaking of opportunity, one thing is clear. A fighter that can't imagine doing anything other than fighting is a dangerous one. Their profession means a whole lot to them. Such is the case with Dustin Hazelett.
Bad news for the opposition when you consider the fact that he's only 22 years old right now and still hasn't even touched his prime as a fighter.
More Quotes from Dustin Hazelett
On whether he actually looks for highlight reel submissions when fighting: "My main priority is to win. It's not to win by submission or knockout or decision, it's just to win however I can. When I go for a submission, I don't think, 'oh I should go for this instead of this because this is cooler looking'. I just go for what I see. It happened to work out very well on a couple of occasions (referring to recent victories over Tamdan McCrory and Josh Burkman).
On Hazelett's choice of college: Once I got into training and stuff, I joined Team Jorge Gurgel. I trained at a small affiliate in Huntington, West Virginia and that's actually how I selected Marshall as the college I went to; that's where the gym was. So I just went to college there.
On the importance of training at JG MMA Academy: "It's very important to get a good team. That's the most important thing you can do (as an MMA fighter). People join smaller teams that are very inexperienced or don't have really qualified instructors. It's a sinnable thing to see because without proper instruction, no matter how much potential you have, you can never reach that potential. So having good instruction is crucial to becoming a good fighter."
On what he would've done differently against Josh Koscheck: "(I) would not have pawed my jab. I went in knowing that I shouldn't do that and then for some reason in the second round I started doing it. Then as soon as I did it, I got TKO'd. Imagine that (laughing)? I definitely would not do that. But I learned a lot from it, so I think it'll be good in the long run."
On some of the up and comers he trains with at JG's MMA Academy: "We got a bunch of people. We got Tommy Haden who's like 145 or 155, we got John Meyer who's either 170 or 185. They both kind of hop around for whatever weight class they can get a fight in. We got a bunch of guys there that are really good but nobody's really heard of. You're going to be seeing a lot of good guys coming out of our academy in the near future."
On how he might attack a guy like Demian Maia (a weight class above him): "If I fought somebody like Demian Maia, that would probably be one of the few fights that I would try not to be taken down in. I don't know, I mean, guys like that?his ground game is obviously world class. That would be a very hard fight stylistically for me because he's such a good grappler. I think that would be a fun fight. But he's a weight class above me so you know, it would probably never happen. But to fight another jiu jitsu guy is always a fun fight, like when I fought Tony DeSouza and Diego (Saraiva). It's kind of irritating but fun at the same time when people can block your submissions and stuff like that and they start trying to work stuff on you. It's a chess match. It's really entertaining and fun."
On the kind of fighter he is and why he enjoys MMA so much: I'm not a strength and speed kind of guy. I'm more of a finesse fighter. I'm not one of those guys that goes in there and brawls and stuff. I try to win tactically, so it's kind of like a big game to me. If I do this, he's gonna do this. I try to pick him apart, take him out strategically. I think that's why I enjoy it so much."