Dusty Chandler – American Pit Fighters

By | February 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm | No comments | Fighter Interviews | Tags: , , , , , ,

Jason Przewoznik: Hey Dustin! Thanks for reaching out to us; and accepting our request to do an interview! I usually like to start these off with a way to get to know you as a human being, before you stepped into the cage. Care to share a bit about your life growing up and what defines Dustin Chandler?

Dustin Chandler: I appreciate the opportunity! Well, I grew up in a small town; Oquawka, Illinois. I went to a very small high school, had like 35 people in my class when I graduated. I played all sports my school offered; football, basketball, and baseball. Always been a competitive person, but I found a passion for football and the weight room! I worked hard at that and actually got a scholarship to a small school in Wisconsin to play. I had an unfortunate injury and broke my hand, came home and went back to a community college. …But when I came back my best friend Steven Mann had already started fighting and he asked me to come to one of his fights. I did and just fell in love! He convinced me to come in to the gym his dad owned and he coached at called the ‘American Pit Fighters’ out of Burlington, Iowa. I’ve been there the past three years now and the gym has just gotten bigger and better fighters. Outside of my fighting I’m a full time student. I will actually have an Associates degree in Fire Science at the end of May and an Associates of Criminal Justice a month after that! I also work for the local sheriffs department as a dispatcher and I work part-time at Menards as a paint salesmen. ….So I am a very busy person! My team is like a family to me, they’re my training partners, my best friends, and my brothers. My coach / owner of the gym, Dave Mann takes care of keeping us in shape and training us in every aspect of MMA with help from others who are specialists in Wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu. His wife Billie Mann is my manager, she takes care of setting all my fights and promos so all we have to worry about is our fights. We are very fortunate to be apart of a team that has these things to help us.

JP: Awesome man… I’m actually in school for the same thing; just finished my associates for Criminal Justice and my Corrections certificate; I also work in sales unfortunately, aside from doing this which I love! You got involved with American Pit Fighters, is that where you still currently train at? What kind of gym is it – what disciplines do they offer and what do you ultimately partake in?

DC: Awesome. Yeah, I’m still with the Pit fighters. PIT stands for Powerful Intense Training. We train all disciplines. Muay Thai/Kickboxing, traditional Boxing, Wrestling, and BJJ. I train there 4 days a week and then just weight training and conditioning separate as well. We have almost 20 active fighters; we have 7 current champions, and 13 amateur titles for different promotions. We are the only gym known around western Illinois and southeast Iowa with a full boxing ring and a 26 foot cage!

JP: Well, that definitely sounds like a gym that knows what they’re doing! You said you train 4 times a week; what would you say your strongest in; Striking,Grappling, or Ground?

DC: Well, we train to be well rounded fighters and to be ready to fight at any moment. …But I would have to say as a as an amateur heavyweight you don’t match up against a lot of wrestlers with good BJJ and those happen to be my strongest skills. BUT… I’m not afraid to stand and bang!

JP: It’s technicality that wins a fight. Stand and bang is always a more entertaining show; but the victory comes to the guy who can control the fight in either event. Do you have a training split at your gym or is it a complete MMA circuit every time you hit the gym?

DC: We do Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu on Wednesday. Thai and Wrestling on Thursdays. Then Saturdays it depends on if we have any special coaching coming in to help out. Sunday is always spar days. Strength and conditioning is 5 days a week.

JP: Nice man; It’s great to see the fighters that stay focused on their game, especially with everything else you’re doing. So what’s your current weight and MMA record at the moment? Are you Amateur or Pro? 

DC: I’m a heavyweight. I walk around right at the 265 pound mark. My record is 7-3 as an amateur with one belt. Plans to turn pro probably around May (of this year).

JP: Pretty impressive record; so no weight cuts necessary? Any plans on getting down to 205 or feel like Heavyweight is your home? Also, I always say your losses are your best instructors; allowing you to learn your holes and improve your game; care to share anything you may have learned from your losses?

DC: No weight cuts necessary. I had to one time, I came off a break and had to lose about 10 pounds, but other than that no. The move to 205 would be awesome! It’s definitely being discussed in my management and coaches, but for now I’m a heavyweight. I completely agree about the loses. I’ve learned from each of mine. My first loss came when I was 4-0. I took a fight for a heavyweight belt and basically gassed out in the second round. I learned my cardio wasn’t up where it needed to be to compete with the top guys. My second loss came to a first round TKO. That would of been my 7th fight and I just got caught. Every fighter does it, and learns from it. My third loss was my 10th fight, I lost a three round decision, in which I felt I won the fight. I went to fight the hometown boy for his belt and I felt like I controlled the fight and pushed the pace but the judges seen it differently. So I told myself then I wouldn’t let it go to a decision again!

JP: Amen, same situation as Condit vs. Diaz …Controversial decision to some; I rooted for Condit, so to hell with them (haha). But if you don’t want to lose, never let it go to decision. I like your spirit. What have you done to condition your cardio better? Do you feel you’ve improved from that loss?

DC: Well, not only have we stepped up my distance running and sprints, we have made our training sessions faster paced for longer periods of time and I’ve started swimming 3 days a week which has help a lot. I’m in much better shape now. I’m ready for 5 rounds instead of 3. I’m always improving, trying to get better… a loss just motivates you a little more.

JP: Definitely man, well put! Though, I also don’t want to dwell on JUST your losses; how about you tell us about some of your most positive memorable moments in your career thus far? …What would you say inspires you to stay coming back to the cage?

DC: I would have to say some of my most memorable would have to be my very first fight. It was close to my home town so I had a huge crowd of people there cheering me on, and I went out and subbed the guy with an arm-bar in the first round. Another would be when I won my first title. It was a big promotion about 6 hours from my home town. I fought a very tough hard nosed well known fighter from Marion, Illinois and I went out and imposed my will. I finished by ground and pound in the first round. …But what inspires me to do what I do, just simply the love of the sport! The thrill of competition! The desire to make something of myself! I’ve sacrificed a lot to be where I am today. And I know there’s more things in the future I will have to as well. For the feeling of victory, and the fact that I was always involved in team sports, and now that I’m in a sport that I alone control the outcome of the fight, it makes it feel that much better when you get your hand raised!

JP: Very true!! When you sacrifice a lot to get somewhere, you learn to appreciate it just that much more; let alone the fact that ultimately YOU control the outcome – and even if you lose, you know what to brush up on… That is definitely the beauty of this sport. So you’ve accomplished a lot in your 3 year run; and with a record of 7-3; you’re definitely on the right path. You stated you’re looking to go pro by May of this year; is there any particular reason behind waiting until May; or as some may ask going pro so soon in your career? What’s your intention?

DC: Originally I was going to wait until I had at least 15 fights. But this opportunity for this tournament came up, with the winner receiving a professional contract with the Pro Elite, so there wasn’t any way I could pass up that up! Now, I’m close to reaching the championship so I can’t help but say I’ll win the contract. That fight will happen at the end of March, and there’s one other promotion that I’m in line for a title fight, so I’d really like to get that fight and turn pro as a 2 time amateur champion! My intentions are just to take it one fight at a time and see what I can make of it. I mean every amateur fighter’s dream is to make it to the big shows.

JP: That’s very true… also not many Amateur Heavyweights know how to take it to the ground. You have that advantage as well as the mentality to learn from your mistakes and improve on them; definitely see that working out for you! What date is the tournament? Is there any fight scheduled for you yet and do you know your opponent at this time?

DC: The fight is scheduled for March 30th in Fairfeild, IA. My opponent isn’t set yet. Its between two guys; Parnell Davis or a Brandon Knapp. Both are very good fighters and very game opponents.

JP: Great man; and as this date comes nearer, I hope we can connect again to discuss more about the fight! So, with everything going on in your career – do you currently have any sponsors? Also, if someone was looking to sponsor you or put you on a card; who would they have to contact?

DC: Yeah, absolutely, as the date comes closer I’ll have more details and we can discuss that then. I do not have any sponsors really. A couple of local friends of my Family, but that’s about it. I’m always looking though. If anyones interested in sponsoring me the easiest way to get a hold of me is Facebook or email me at d_chandler25@hotmail.com, my phones always with me so I can usually get back to them quickly. Fight wise it all goes through my manager Billie Mann. She sets everything for me. …But you can  go through me to get to her as well.

JP: Cool man, thanks! As we near the end of this little introduction and hit our trademark question; I’d like to ask one thing… As a young fighter; who’s seen your share of fights and have a hungry mindset in this fight-game.. is there anything you’d like to share or anything you’ve learned through training… or even anything you’d like to say to those aspiring to get into the world of MMA?

DC: Haha. Yeah, stay focused on your dreams… stay passionate about the sport, because you see these UFC fighters on TV; well, they all started somewhere, just like us. Work hard. Keep on the grind. Enjoy every minute of it. Be humble, be determined, and be proud of what you do! Don’t get distracted by the bad that’s in the world. I know alot of sacrifice comes with the territory of being an amateur and even young pros, but if fighting is what you want to do, dedicate yourself 110%!  …And Good luck to everyone else out there!

JP: …And just that message right there shows your mindset in this game, and it’s a great one. Now, we get to the fun trademark question; it started with our first interviews and we ran with it… Surprisingly it also shows character of the fighter! Who is your favorite super hero and why?

DC: Well, I’m not a huge super hero enthusiast… But from the ones I know, I’d have to say Batman. Because he doesn’t really have superpowers, but he still stands up and fights for what he believes in. He uses his money for the good of people. He chooses to do good for people. I think that’s admirable.

JP: Batman, the choice of most fighters. I feel probably because he’s the one without the powers, but still kicks ass for the overall good; as you said. That’s great man. Well, we pretty much got a nice little look into your life and we’ll definitely connect again once your fight and future fights get rolling. So definitely keep in touch! …But before I let you go – do you have anyone you’d like to shout out or give special thanks to?

DC: Yeah, absolutely; First a huge thanks to my family for helping me out with everything thats involved and supporting me. Also, to The American Pit Fighters; we train hard and i couldn’t do any of it without my team! To the Mann familey for all they do… And a huge thanks to all the MMA fans that come out to watch my fights!

JP: Great! I appreciate you taking the time to sit with me and discuss a little about yourself. We’ll definitely keep in touch through your career. Don’t be a stranger!

DC: Yeah of course. Thanks for the opportunity and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Jason Przewoznik is the owner of KnockoutLounge.com. KnockoutLounge.com was created to provide a haven for up and coming Mixed Martial Artists to share their stories and their careers with the fans; Supporting ALL fighters on the rise in a not-for-profit community.
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