It's a hard truth in the world of mixed martial arts that organizations rise and fall. Throughout the sport's relatively brief history we have seen a handful of upstarts begin with a bang then fizzle or self-destruct in a multitude of fashions. While these organization's go on to be a footnote in story of MMA, the fighters are often left holding the burden. With that being said, when faced with drastic downturns a fighter can either become lost in the shuffle or continue to grind his way towards the top and for Xtreme Couture product Jay Hieron, it's survival of the fittest and every time out is show and prove.
The former IFL champion is currently riding a 7 fight winning streak that has spanned 4 different organization's over the past 3 years. Hieron's profile has risen with each victory and his most recent run with Strikeforce has served to only raise his stock. "The Thoroughbred" went 2-0 during his time with the San Jose based promotion and when a highly anticipated title bout with current champion Nick Diaz failed to materialize, Hieron looked elsewhere. In November, Bellator signed the top free agent for their season 4 welterweight tournament and now Hieron is ready to begin his climb once again. I recently caught up with Hieron and in his Bloody Elbow Exclusive interview he talked about signing with Bellator and his return to action.
"Man it's the same old thing here," Hieron began. "I'm training hard and getting ready to rumble."
Hieron made news when he signed with Strikeforce midway through 2009 but after two impressive showings his calls for a title shot against Nick Diaz went unanswered. With no title shot and the promise of fighting in televised bouts broken he decided to take his talents to Bellator Fighting Championship.
"I like the tournament format," Hieron answered when asked about his decision to sign with the Chicago based promotion. "I definitely wanted to get as many fights as possible right now and the tournament format is situation is the best situation for that. In my career I've fought everywhere. I feel that I've had a lot of organization's collapse around me or sell their company off...I've been through that. I hope Bellator is around for awhile and I'd like to think I could call that my home but only time will tell."
"To tell you the truth I have no idea," Hieron answered when asked about the Diaz fight. "To me that's the past and I'm focusing on the future right now so that situation is in my rearview mirror."
Originally Hieron was slated to face Steve Carl in his Bellator debut but on the day of the interview the news came that Carl was injured and would be replaced by Anthony Lapsley. Despite the last minute change Hieron remained unaffected.
"I feel I match up great with anybody right now," Hieron stated. "I'm in tremendous shape, my skills are A-level and I'm going to go out and do my job on fight night."
By entering the Season 4 welterweight tournament Hieron will automatically be one of the favorites to win the tournament. If Hieron is successful in his bid he will earn a title matchup with current champion and wrestling standout Ben Askren.
"Being the champion is the plan and that's what I signed up for," Hieron stated. "Whenever I sign on for a fight I sign on to win and I want to be the champion. That's why I'm in this game. I want to be the best that I can be. It's definitely one fight at a time and I'm looking forward to March 5th. It's my comeback fight. I haven't fought in awhile and I'm excited man. I'm back in the game."