by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
For the first ever UFC show in Texas on April 7th the promotion has brought in some of the best local talent to make their first ever excursion into the lone star state a memorable one.
Included in that local wealth of talent is perennial heavyweight contender, and unique hairstyle aficionado, Heath “Texas Crazy Horse” Herring.
Herring will be making his second appearance in the UFC. Also being his first appearance in his native state in over a decade, Herring has hopes of rebounding off an extremely disappointing loss to Jake O’Brien at UFC Fight Night in January.
Slated to face off against fellow Texas native Brad Imes at UFC 69, Heath must win if he hopes to gain a foothold in the ever growing UFC heavyweight division.
“I’m feeling great,” said Herring heading into April 7th. “I’m excited to get back home and get fighting.”
Heath continued, “Going to the first UFC in Texas, that’s the exciting part.”
Not only having the opportunity to fight on the first UFC show in Texas, but also an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of friends and family for the first time in years further adds to Herring’s exuberance.
“It’s huge,” exclaimed Heath. “I think the event’s been sold out for the last month or something, from what I’ve heard. Everybody’s just really stoked to be out there. I’m excited about getting out there and getting in front of the Texas fans.”
“I’m excited about being here [in the UFC], especially with everything that’s going on in the States. I’m looking forward to getting in there, getting after it and do what I do best, and that’s fight,” added Herring.
Interestingly enough, Heath’s opponent Brad Imes might be more at home than Herring, due to the proximity of UFC 69′s host city, Houston, to Brad’s hometown. Because of that Heath feels it could be all the more exciting.
“Actually he’s going to be fighting closer to his hometown than I am,” explained Herring. “I’m sure he’ll have plenty of fans there too and we’re both in front of our respective families and crowds, and I think it’s going to be an exciting fight both ways, I think.”
As for Imes himself, Heath has become very familiar with his opponent and is expecting a toe-to-toe battle.
“I’ve seen just about everything you can get on him,” admitted Herring. “I’m hoping that he’s going to come out and really fight me.”
Heath further commented, “From what I’ve seen, he likes to come in, fight and bang, and that’s great – I’m all about that.”
Now that he’s had an opportunity to fight American style MMA, after having been used to the international game, Herring feels he’s more acclimated on what to expect in a fight and what to do to be successful.
“You’ll see the difference,” said Heath. “In that last fight [against Jake O'Brien], I was just kind of glad to get it out of the way and learn a couple things and realize that it’s not the same game that it is overseas.”
“I think that I’ve looked at some different options and weapons like the elbows, which we have been doing [in training],” continued Herring.
Heath will need every weapon he has available to him to survive in the new UFC heavyweight division and work his way into contention. With the addition of PRIDE FC’s roster to the promotion, things are about to get a whole lot steeper.
“It’s kind of the same game I’ve always been in,” commented Herring. “Over in Japan with PRIDE and stuff, they were doing it the same way. It was always top level competition.”
Heath added, “I always seem to do better the higher the level of competition, so I’m actually looking forward to it. I know it may sound a little weird, but I like to have tough fights, I think I get motivated easier for it.”
So with a chance to shine in front of the hometown crowd and a healthier body and rejuvenated outlook, Heath Herring is poised to make a run once again and he urges everyone to check out his first step towards redemption at UFC 69 on April 7th in Houston, TX.
“I just wanted to say thanks to the Florida fans that treated me really good for my initial fight back in the States,” closed out Herring. “I’m really looking forward to getting back home in Texas for my first fight in probably 10 years in my home state. I’m looking forward to a bunch of people yelling and hollering for me.”