Dustin Pague on BKFC debut: "I feel like I have that itch that I haven't had for a while"

Dustin Pague on BKFC debut: "I feel like I have that itch that I haven't had for a while"

Monday, Nov 01 2021 by Eric Kowal

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), The World’s Fastest Growing Sport, will hold the promotion's first event in the State of New York on Saturday, November 6 at the Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino Event Center in Salamanca, NY and broadcast live on the Bare Knuckle TV App in addition to globally on FITE.TV (7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT).

BKFC Fight Night New York is headlined by the Highly Anticipated Heavyweight Rematch between BKFC World Champion, Joey ‘The Mexicutioner’ Beltran, (5-1-1, 2KOs), of Carlsbad, CA and former BKFC World Champion Arnold ‘Bomaye’ Adams, (5-1, 1KO), of Chicago, IL.  

Making his highly anticipated return to combat sports action and making his debut in bare knuckle competition, former UFC fighter Dustin Pague will face Jake Young at BKFC Fight Night New York.

Following his time on the UFC's Ultimate Fighter reality-television series 10 years ago, Pague then stayed with the promotion for two years until returning to the regional MMA scene, and then eventually trying his hand in boxing.  Pague competed in his last MMA bout in 2015, and then one boxing competition the following year.  Inactive in competition since 2016, Pague talks about his pending return.  

"I walked away for a couple reasons," Pague said of his recent inactivity. "Just family was number one. I was losing to guys I shouldn't have lost to. And it was because I didn't have the time to put into training like I should have. I was taking last minute flights or, you know, stupid flights that didn't really make sense at the time. My passion kind of went out the window for MMA just because of my schedule, my family schedule. I just kind of lost the, you know, the spark. And then I thought I wanted to take a run in boxing, which is why I had that boxing match and I hurt my hand pretty good for a while, and I just kind of fell off and was focusing more on my family life than anything. And when I first saw BKFC, I thought,  'that's badass. I have to do this.' It was an instant attraction.  It kind of woke me up. Then I found out my buddy from the Ultimate Fighter, Johnny Bedford, was fighting for them. So that kind of really lit the fire in me with fighting, specifically this style just seems more fitting for me. Standing and banging is more my style. And the bare knuckle factor just adds some badassery to it.  I feel like I have that itch that I haven't had for a while."

The 34-year-old Pennsylvania based fighter continued to talk about his time away from competition but assures everyone that just because he hasn't been getting paid to fight, doesn't mean he has been sitting on the couch.

"I don't feel as young as I should," Pague said with honesty. "I put my body through a lot, but this is probably the best shape I've been in a long time. I've been off competition, but I'm still grinding. It's just something I'll always do."

Without the worry of takedowns or submissions, Pague has focused solely on the striking aspect and will look to translate the work he's put in at the gym, into the squared-circle on November 6 in Salamanca.

When asked about his opponent in Jake Young, Pague didn't have much information to go on.  

"I'm just going in there and I'm doing what I came to do. And I feel really good about it. I feel sorry for him that he's on the receiving end, but yeah, it's part of the game. I haven't been this excited to compete in a long time. This this sport really caught my eye."

Before Pague embarks on the first of four-fights he is contracted to partake in with Bare Knuckle FC, "The Disciple" wanted to thank a few people who helped prepare him for the comeback.

"There's a bunch of people I'd like to thank," Pague said. "Scott Howard is a huge reason why I'm doing this. He was reaching out to the right people for me. And the great thing about Scott is he does everything for me and never expects a dime or never expects anything in return. So I love him for that and I appreciate him. Lewis Reese, he's the trainer at Power Train Carlisle. He's been with me this whole entire ride and he's worked around my schedule to make it all work so I really appreciate him. Manny Rose, my old boxing coach even though our schedules were conflicting this train up, he was always there for advice or he squeeze me in whereever he can. And yeah, just my friends and family. I won't name all those individuals, but you know who you are. Thank you for supporting me.  Also, Blaine Shutt, I've been training with him.  He's a little speed demon.  It's good to be sparring somebody that fast.  I don't see anybody in my division that will be that quick.  Also, a guy named Able and then my friend, Mike Cleveland.  Mike has a gym in Newville, PA that he built when I was training him for MMA. Lastly, my wife Jaclyn, for putting up with me all these years of doing this crazy shit."


Tickets priced at $150, $75 and $50 are Now On-Sale through BKFC.com and www.Seneca Allegany Casino.com. The Seneca Alleghany Resort and Casino is located at 777 Seneca Alleghany Blvd., Salamanca, NY 14779. Doors will open on the night of the event at 6:00 p.m. ET with the first bell at 7:00 p.m. ET.