Interview With Joe “El Dirte” Doerksen

With 58 fights to his name, Joe Doerksen has fought all over the world. He’s mixed it up with some of the toughest Middleweight fighters in the world including Patrick Cote, Matt Lindland, Paulo Filho, Chris Leben and Nate Marquardt. With the many fights he’s had and the quality of fighters he’s fought, you’d think that Doerksen was near the end of his career. Far from it, as he’s only 32 years old – essentially the prime for fighters. Here’s a fantastic video of one of Doerksen vs Chris Leven, one of his toughest fights.

Doerksen talked exclusively to MMA UK regarding his long career and regarding his next opponent, TUF alumni C.B Dollaway at UFC 119 on September 25th.

Hey Joe, thanks for taking the interview. Congratulations on your latest win against Shawn Marchand. You’re quite a well-known fighter, but for those that don’t know, could you explain how you got into Mixed Martial Arts?

I had an interest in martial arts as a teen, and started training just for fun, and self defense.  After a few years of training, I took an MMA fight, just to see what it was like.  I fell in love with the sport and never stopped.

You’ve had an incredibly long career with many ups and downs, and I’d like to touch base on a few of your most significant fights. Your first professional MMA fight was at the “Bas Rutten Invitational” 11 years ago. Do you remember how you felt going into that fight, then how you felt after you won?

-I just remember being nervous.  It was my first experience like that, and had no idea what to expect.  After winning the fight, I felt a sense of relief. 

You eventually lost on the same night to Eugene Jackson. Although you lost, did you at least feel as if you’d accomplished a lot, considering the fact that most fighters only have one fight in a night – not four?

I was disappointed for having lost, but felt that I had done well for my first time fighting.  I knew that I had more to learn, but would definitely be competing again.



Early on in your career you fought UFC Hall of Famer, Matt Hughes. Did you feel as if he had the skills to be regarded one of the best when you fought him?

That was a very long time ago, but I do remember having heard his name a few times before we had fought.  He was clearly gifted already at the time, and it doesn’t surprise me that he did well.

Do you feel that with a few more fights under your belt you could’ve beaten him?

I really don’t like to look at things that way, it feels like making an excuse for a loss.  He won, that’s the end of it.  For me it’s more important to take the experience and learn from it to avoid other losses in the future.

After the loss to Hughes, you went on a 12 fight win streak, beating the likes of Lee Murray, John Alessio and Robbie Newman. What did you learn the most out of  all these fights?

-In that winning streak, I actually feel I became lazy and thought I would keep winning without improving.  I think that’s what led to the end of my streak, and got me back to training harder and learning again.  It was a difficult lesson to learn, but a valuable one.

Which one of these fights are you most proud of?

I’m proud of every one, but the fights that were the most difficult are the ones I’m most proud of.  I like to look back and know that I worked hard through tough fights, and did not give up just because things weren’t easy.

What was it like to go on such long win streak? Did you almost feel unbeatable?

Unfortunately, yes.  And when you feel unbeatable, you’re most vulnerable. 

You then suffered three losses in a row? Do you feel you learn’t more in these defeats than you did in your wins?


You went on to fight PRIDE FC favourite and fellow Canadian Denis Kang. Where do you feel you had the most of the advantage during this fight?

That fight was a really hard one for both of us.  It was very even and a back and forth battle.  I think what helped me win was that I was not willing to give up, no matter what happened, and I landed some good shots in the fight that hurt him enough for me to finish him before he could recover.

Your first win in the UFC was against former Middleweight contender Patrick Cote. You eventually beat him in the third round. What was it like to get your first win in the UFC?

Getting that win felt great.  It is nice to know you can go win a fight in the biggest show in the world.  It just feels great.

Your first and only chance so far to win a title was against Paulo Filho. You lost to him in the first round. Looking back on that fight in particular, what would you have done different in regards to training or the fight itself?

Training was great.  I feel the fight went well, until I got caught with a good punch.  I think that only happened because I was too cautious.  If I were to fight him again, I think i would be more aggressive. 

Your most recent fight in the UFC saw you beat Tom Lawlor. You took some incredibly heavy shots from Lawlor. Do you feel as if you were in control or were you close to being knocked out?

-I was hurt, but still awake, and able to fight back.  It was definitely not a good feeling, but I got through it and started landing big shots of my own.  When I watched the fight later, I was surprised to see that his face took much more damage than mine, even in the first round.  Somewhere in that mess, I landed some good punches.

 Your next fight is against C.B Dollaway. What do see as his weaknesses and how do you plan to exploit them?

I don’t think I want to say too much about my plans for that fight, other than that I am working hard, and expect to have a great fight against a very tough and dangerous opponent.


What things have you been focusing on in your training camp. You’ve recently got a few TKO’s, so is striking one of the things you’ve been working on as your BJJ game is obviously fantastic)  (Note: Doerksen has 33 wins by submission in his career so far)


 I try to take the weakest parts of my game and make them stronger.  I always want to be a complete fighter, who feels completely comfortable, where ever the fight may go.


You’re still relatively young, but you’ve had many fights. Has the thought of retirement came across your mind yet?

It has, but now is not the time.  If all goes well, I still have at least 5 years left.  I feel I’m just starting to hit my prime.  My best fights are going to be in the next 3-5 years. 

You’ve had an amazing career and still managed to stay relevant in a sport which seems to be always looking for the “next big thing”. What are your goals for the next few years?

 I want to fight the best in the business. 

Thanks for your time Joe. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

 I would like to thank my friends and family for all their love and support.  Also the fans, my team, my coaches, trainers, and training partners.

Doerksens next fight is against C.B Dollaway at UFC 119


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