It was pretty evident in watching Dontale Mayes (0-0, 8-0 am) as an amateur fighter that he was on a different level than most of his competition.
That’s why it was no surprise when it was announced earlier this year that the Bronx Hill MMA product would turn pro at this weekend’s Hardrock MMA 77 event in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. “King Kong” is set to take on another former Hardrock MMA amateur heavyweight champion in Harry Hunsucker (1-1) in the night’s co-main event.
Mayes, a former 6’6″ basketball power forward, clearly had options after racking up an impressive amateur record.
“I think turning pro in MMA was a power move for me,” Mayes told BluegrassMMA. “I thought about waiting a few months and going to the national golden gloves. I’ve had offers to sign boxing; I even spoke to Pete Susie second in command for Top Rank, but I ultimately chose my passion for MMA.”
Mayes brings a rare blend of power and speed to MMA that is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the heavyweight division. He moves like a lightweight but hits like a heavyweight, and his pure boxing skills are also apparent. In fact, he landed a nice knockout in his last amateur fight just seconds after switching stances to Southpaw.
A lifelong athlete, Mayes also possesses the confidence of a top tier fighter with years at the highest level of the sport.
“I don’t see myself losing any time soon,” Mayes said. “Not because I’m cocky, but because I feel I work harder than my competition. Add that with natural talent, and you get supreme confidence.”
The veteran Hunsucker will be a worthy test for his pro debut, as both held the Hardrock MMA heavyweight title and have appered to be on a collision course for awhile now.
“Harry Hunsucker will be a good first fight for me,” Mayes said. “I wanted to take the Hardrock title from him but he turned pro and now we meet.”
The sky seems to be the limit for the 24 year old fighter who says he got his nickname from hitting a man with a vicious hammerfist the first time he sparred.
Although he is just on the eve of his pro debut, he already has a plan in place for the remainder of the year: “In 2016 my goal is have at least 5 fights, go 5-0, and be prepared to go to the UFC.”