Sometimes change is a long time coming. Other times it happens on a moment’s notice. For former The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen cast member Jake “Honey Bear” Heun, a spur of the moment decision to change camps has paid off with three consecutive victories.
“I’d been out at Jeremy Horn’s in Utah, and made a couple changes with my management and they were running a deal with the American Top Team. (They) asked if I wanted to just check it out or move out, and I just moved out because I was ready for a change,” said Heun.
“Training with the guys down here has helped develop my whole game. One of my main sparring partners is Steve Macco, a former Olympian, and it’s difficult to kickbox with the guy if you don’t develop some takedown defense. One of the other big things is that I go in the morning and do private stuff with Master (Ricardo) Laborio and work on my ground game. It’s just a really good situation to work on my overall game down there.”
Along with advancements in his game comes a kind of assurance that he’s figured out where he belongs in the fight game, especially after a disastrous appearance on TUF where he lost in the opening elimination round.
“The fighter I am now wouldn’t have done that,” said Heun. “That was a poor decision in my life thinking that I could get down to 185 pounds and be able to maintain that for several weeks.
“In the fight I would have acted differently and not gone so gung-ho trying to put it away. Looking back at it, it was a blessing in disguise and made me realized that I’m a light heavyweight and not a middleweight and should stick to 205.”
While he feels his future lies at light heavyweight, Heun (5-2) will be stepping up to heavyweight to take on Daymon Lake (3-3) as part of the American contingent at GWC “British Invasion: U.S. vs. U.K.” in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday.
“I’m not really a heavyweight anymore, but it’s been hard getting fights in other organizations, and I’m looking forward to the fight,” said Heun. “Daymon is a big, strong guy, so I’ve got to make sure that he doesn’t take me down and get on top.
“I’m training with Bigfoot (Antonio Silva), Steve Macco and (Shawn) Jordan, and they’re all big and athletic, and Daymon isn’t quite of their caliber.”
Heun told MMAWeekly.com that he feels a good performance Saturday night could help give him the kind of exposure needed to take the next step in his career.
“If I go out and have a good performance here, the way me and my manager look at it, I could be two fights away from really taking a shot at a big show without having to take something on short notice,” said Heun. “At the same time, I’m in no big rush.
“I don’t think (the start of my career was a case of) too much too early, but I hadn’t figured out who I was a fighter. I think athletically I was there, but I didn’t have the tools in my toolbox to perform at that level, and now I think I’m closer to having that.”