It’s a perfect spring afternoon in Las Vegas, and Josh Quinlan has just finished teaching his morning Muay Thai class at Milestone Martial Arts, which I participated in. This is the second time Josh “Bushido” Quinlan has given me a striking lesson. The first time was when I challenged him for the Real MMA Welterweight title and got TKO’d less than a minute into the fight.
In the land of Xtreme Couture and Syndicate MMA, all within a few miles of each other, the Hawaiian prospect continues his martial arts career with the same coaches he started with. Originally founded by Wanderlei Silva as Wand Fight Team, Milestone is situated directly across the highway from, and in clear view of the UFC Performance Institute. Next door to the PI sits the venue of Quinlan’s next fight – the infamous UFC Apex. “I’ve got a clear view of the UFC Apex. I’m always visualizing a good energy over there,” he says with a smile.
He’s got a good frame of reference from which to visual another big UFC win, by just thinking back to the night he earned a UFC contract in that very same cage, on Dana White’s Contender Series. “When I was training for my Contender Series fight at the Apex, every day I would visualize getting it done and [reaching] the next level.” Josh Quinlan was just 5-0 when he stepped into the UFC spotlight, against Logan Urban, scoring a vicious KO in just 47 seconds.
In his official UFC debut, Quinlan faced Jason Witt, a veteran of nearly 30 pro MMA fights, and the result was the same — a vicious knockout that left his opponent stiff. Quinlan’s perfect record and 100% finishing rate has stayed intact since his amateur days, a phase of his MMA career that ended with a perfect 6-0.
Among the casualties are yours truly [Rodney James Edgar] and Ultimate Fighter alumni Ryder Newman. But the humble Hawaiian takes nothing for granted and realizes that there are no handouts in this rough sport. “[My martial arts journey] wasn’t a clean learning process,” said Quinlan. It took him a few Muay Thai fights and the initial adversity in his first fight before he began his evolution into the knockout artist he’s become.
“In my first amateur fight I was almost on the receiving end. [Corey Turner] hit me a few times and there was a voice that said, ‘you get hit one more time and you’re going down’, so I had to bite down on the mouthpiece and go with all my might and I hit [him with the knockout punch].”
Josh Quinlan looks to score another impressive knockout to add to his collection of finishes this weekend, and keep his perfect record and finishing rate intact (6-0, Four KOs, Two Submissions).
April 29, at UFC Vegas 72: Song vs Simon he’ll get the opportunity against another fierce up-and-comer in Trey Waters (7-1), who was also 6-0 when he stepped into the octagon on the Contender Series in 2022. With a second round knockout at LFA 156 earlier this month, Waters is back in the win column on a real quick turnaround and he’s looking for some Apex redemption.
“I think it will bring out the best in both of us. I want to test myself. I’m up for the challenge.”
Check out our full interview with UFC Vegas 72’s Josh Quinlan above.