By: King Eddie
Dustin Kimura is much more than just a kid with an awesome name. Many of us in Hawaii have known for years that the Jesus Salud protege had much more to him than met the eye. Through a quiet and humble demeanor Kimura has managed to quietly make his way all the way to the UFC, where he demonstrated his qualifications for being there at UFC 156.
Walking to the cage and standing in the prep zone, Dustin seemed a little nervous. Many watching at home, or in the crowd for that matter, wouldn't have known it, but those who know him well could see it on his face. The bright lights of the big show have been within arms reach for years, but all at once he was finally immersed and if took some getting used to.
"I was so nervous. It was more than I really expected. I got in there and the whole 'first fight nerves' were there."
The first round opened up with Kimura and his opponent, Chico Camus, circling one another, looking for their first opportunity to strike. Camus made the first statement as he landed a shot on a backpedaling Kimura, nearly dropping him to the mat. But all the incident really achieved was to wake Kimura from his nervous slumber. The lights immediately came on in Kimura's head and the fight was afoot.
Camus drove in hard on Kimura for a deep double leg takedown, and in preparation for what would follow on the mat, Dustin pulled guard. Once to the floor, Camus had the same revelation the Japanese did after their attack on Pearl Harbor, he had awaken a sleeping beast. Dustin was relentless from his guard. He attacked and created openings, keeping his opponent confused and feeling as if he had brought a knife to a gun fight. Transition after transition came to pass with Kimura controlling the action from the bottom. When space was not given, he created it, and devoured Camus with a shoulder lock that forced him to roll. Kimura anticipated the roll and moved into an even more threatening position. But as the round was drawing to a close, Kimura could not seal the deal.
"I let my excitement get the best of me" Said Kimura. " I was hunting for the choke and I lost my postion."
The second round would prove to be much of the same. Kimura and Camus dabbled in the strking end of things, and then once again, much to the shock of Kimura, Camus decided to try to take the fight to the mat. As the round progressed, commentator Joe Rogan was heard explaining exactly how impressive Dustin Kimura's guard work truly was. As a BJJ blackbelt himself, Rogan tipped his hat to the groundwork of Kimura. The round closed out with Dustin wielding a dual threat Triangle/Armbar submission locked in on Camus, but once again could not finish.
"At the end of the second round I wasn't really trying to finish it. I knew with a triangle choke he would just bite down and power through to the end of the round. So I just tried to tweek the arm to the side a little bit."
In the third, Camus inexplicably tried once again to take the fight to the ground. It would prove disastrous for him. Kimura managed to leverage himself into top position, and this time he would not allow his excitement to control him. Once on top, Kimura's strikes prompted Camus to turn his body, leading to the seamless transition to back mount. Once locked onto Camus' back, Kimura sank in the Rear Naked Choke that would end the fight, and see the Hawaii fighter with his hand raised in his octagon debut.
"I couldn't believe it. When Joe Rogan was talking to me, I just couldn't believe it was really happening. I mean, it's been the goal all along to be in the UFC, but it was a crazy feeling. So when I told him 'I can't believe you're talking to me right now', that wasn't something I had planned. It just kind of came out."
The moment may have been shocking for Kimura, but to the Hawaii MMA fan, it was a long time coming. Many, including myself, knew that the octagon was an inevitable home for the young talent. And now that his skills have been showcased, he has made a pretty powerful believer out of one very influential personality.
"After the fight I was sitting there and they tell me ' Dana wants to talk to you'. I was thinking to myself, 'oh no'. I get back into this private room with Dana and Lorenzo and Dana was telling me he was so impressed. He told me he loved the fight and that he was going to put it on the FX broadcast. Having that one on one time with Dana was the best part of the whole experience. Just knowing he liked the fight, that's just amazing."
That's right MMA Hawaii Nation, Dustin Kimura is Dana White Approved. And thus another of our young hopefuls cements his position amongst the biggest MMA promotion in the game. As we look on in admiration and support, we know that Dustin will have many more opportunities with the UFC, and we will stand behind him every step of the way.