UFC 284’s Don Shainis: Feel Like I Didn’t Make My Debut Yet

Don Shainis, UFC Vegas 61 weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

Don Shainis got his call to the UFC the way that so many before him have – on short notice. Not only did he only have two weeks to prepare, but he would be facing the #12 featherweight in the world, Sodiq Yusuff. The fight ultimately did not go Shainis’ way, which left him with a feeling like he hasn’t even stepped into the Octagon yet.

“I feel like I didn’t even make my debut yet to be honest with you,” Shainis said. “Yes, I made the walk to the cage, I went through all the motions, all the media, all that bullshit – ultimately it doesn’t feel like I got to put myself out there and compete.”

Shainis doesn’t blame the circumstances, nor does he discredit the incredible talent of his opponent. However, his ability to prepare was hindered and less than ideal – but it was a means to get where he was going.

“I was coming off an injury, I had just started exercising again. Like two days back into training I got the phone call to fight,” he said. “When the UFC calls, you don’t say no – especially when you’re trying to get in.”

Although the injury was mostly all healed up, it left him in a place he doesn’t typically like to be. Usually a guy who handles his weight cut easily, Shainis was left with a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.

“They gave me two weeks to make weight, and I cut 40lbs in two weeks,” Shainis said. “I like to cut 15lbs. I like to diet down. I normally walk around between 165 and 170lbs when I’m eating comfortably. I’ll diet down to 160, fight week I’ll be 158 and I’ll cut from 158.”

Wildly, the weight came right back on for him. Although some fighters like being able to do that, the toll on his body was just too much.

“So obviously, when you do a crazy weight cut like that, there’s a huge tax you pay on your body. There’s a point of diminishing returns,” he said. “In order to be a professional and make the weight, I had to f*cking blow by that point.”

Now on the perfect track to make weight the way he likes to, Shainis looks forward to being able to show the world what he’s really made of. He’ll get that first chance to as he takes on Jack Jenkins on the ESPN+ preliminary card of UFC 284 this Saturday.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview below at 29:28.