by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
This past Friday the IFL’s Los Angeles Anacondas made history, becoming the first team to defeat the two-time defending IFL Champion Quad Cities Silverbacks at their 2007 season opener in Houston, Texas.
A key part of the Anaconda’s victory is welterweight Jay Hieron, who rebounded off his tough loss in the IFL semi-finals last year to Chris Wilson of the Wolfpack, to defeat late replacement Victor Moreno en route to the Anacondas’ 3-2 victory.
“It feels great,” exclaimed Jay of his team’s win. “We worked hard, because we came up short in Portland, so there’s no better feeling than to take out the champs. We did that convincingly, every fight was good, and I’m proud of my team, myself and my coaches.”
Hieron is not only pleased with his team’s performances, but he himself had an impressive showing against Moreno.
“I didn’t know much about him, but that’s the fight game, I’m a professional and I was ready for anybody they put in front of me,” commented Jay. “I went in, did my job and took him out quick. I felt good and everything felt on-point: my striking, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, every aspect of my game felt good and it showed that night.”
Hieron continued, “I went out and established my striking and he didn’t want any part of that, so we went to the ground. I started softening him up on top [position], he turned his back and I took the choke. I’ll always say I’ll take what a guy gives me [in a fight].”
With the win, the Anacondas now seem like the team to beat in the 2007 season. It’s a fact that’s not lost on Jay, but he knows better than to get complacent being on top.
“Right now I think people are going to be gunning for us because we just beat the Silverbacks,” said Hieron. “So we’re going to train just as hard – if not harder now – because we’ve got to stay on top of our game, because it’s easy for the guys on top to fall.”
“We definitely feel that we’re running in the top contender category, but we take each match one at a time. We’re not looking past any team; we have to take it one team at a time and train just as hard for everybody,” added Jay.
With one IFL show down, Hieron’s focus for the time being has shifted towards the opening of the Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, named after, owned, and operated by soon-to-be-returning-to-action MMA legend Randy Couture.
Not only will Jay be training at Xtreme Couture, but he’ll also be one of the instructors that people can learn from and train with on an almost daily basis.
“I’m blessed to be a part of Xtreme Couture,” exalted Hieron. “Everything in my life is good right now, so all I want to do is keep working hard and fulfilling my goals. The facility has been great for us, and everything is in one place, which I haven’t had before.”
Jay continued, “I used to have to run all over to a couple different places all day, but now I have everything in one place and it’s a great, unbelievable feeling. I’m also going to be one of the trainers in there and I’m happy to show some of my skills and give back to people that want to learn.”
Always a gracious individual, Hieron wanted to make sure to get in a word for those who’ve helped make his year so far a great one and to remind people to keep their eyes open for the Anacondas and to check out Xtreme Couture.
“Thanks to my team, all my training partners and all the fans for supporting us,” concluded Jay. “Without the fans we couldn’t do the things we do today. Check out the Anacondas [match with the Silverbacks] on FSN and [our match versus the Razorclaws] on March 17th in LA. And anybody in Las Vegas come out to Xtreme Couture, sign up and train with us.”