by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy April Pishna / IFL)
When the Los Angeles Anacondas and the Portland Wolfpack get down to business on Thursday, November 2nd in Portland, Oregon, the match-up that features possibly the best-rounded fighters could be that of Jay Hieron VS Chris Wilson.
Hieron is a name that is familiar to many MMA fans due to his appearances in the UFC prior to signing with the IFL earlier this year.
After appearing in a superfight at last season’s Legends Championship Finals, Jay made his Anacondas debut this past September defeating Amos Sotelo in a then-IFL record 30 seconds.
“Awesome, I thought it was great,” is how Hieron summarized his win over Sotelo to MMAWeekly. “I came in and did everything I trained to do. It happened quick, quicker than I expected, but I got the job done and that’s what I always go in there to do.”
After not having a chance to compete for the Anacondas in last season’s team championships, Jay was able to step into the 170lb weight slot when last season’s welterweight Mike Pyle made the decision to move up in weight to allow Hieron the opportunity to contend for a team title.
“It feels good,” exclaimed Jay about participating in the World Team Tournament. “I feel I’m a strong addition to the team. It feels good going out there and showing the world what I’m about.”
“It’s a team thing and Pyle made the sacrifice to go up [in weight]. We have a stronger team with me at 170lbs and the team aspect is what it’s all about. You do things to make the team stronger and that’s what we did,” added Hieron.
When asked if he had been sending Haagen-Dazs to Pyle to help him get up to 185lbs, Jay replied, “Yeah [laughs]…he’s getting up there. Actually he has a big frame anyway, so he fought 185lbs at the beginning of his career so it wasn’t a big deal to move back up.”
With Jay in the line-up the Anacondas, coached by Bas Rutten, completed the first ever 5-0 sweep in IFL history as they dominated Antonio Inoki’s Tokyo Sabres in the quarter-finals.
“There’s nothing better than your whole team going in and winning,” commented Hieron. “That’s the goal every time, for every guy to win. It happened and now it made us work harder and made us mentally stronger…we believe we can win the whole thing.”
Next up for Jay and the Anacondas is a showdown with Chris Wilson the hometown Portland Wolfpack, coached by Matt Lindland.
“Yeah I’ve seen him; he’s more of a stand-up Muay Thai guy,” responded Hieron when asked of his upcoming opponent. “I’m prepared, I’m ready to have a fun fight and at the end of the day I definitely believe I’m the one getting my hand raised.”
Jay continued, “I’m a well-rounded fighter and people still don’t know that about me…that I can fight anywhere. I’m going out and be aggressive and make it an exciting fight.”
In Hieron’s last fight he won in 30 seconds, only to be topped by teammate Mike Pyle’s 17 second win over John Cole in the fight after Jay’s.
When asked if he intends to go out and reclaim that record against Wilson, Hieron said, “If it ends that quick it ends that quick [laughs]. I’m definitely going out to win the fight, be aggressive and it’s going to show for itself.”
And as for the Anacondas’ chances against the Wolfpack, “We’re definitely going to win. We’ve trained very hard and I believe in everyone. The cardio is there, we’re ready to go. I wish the fights were tonight, that’s how ready are. It’s time to have fun…when you win that’s the reward for training so hard.”
Jay’s excitement for the upcoming semi-finals permeates throughout the entire team and is a direct result of the passion of their legendary coach, Bas Rutten, whom Hieron credits for making him a more complete fighter.
“Bas Rutten is incredible for me because I come from a wrestling background and he comes from a striking background so he ads that aspect to my game,” stated Jay. “He has a strong stand-up game and it’s great, I feel my stand-up is really coming along and I’m ready to get out there with anybody and show them.”
The desistance of the conversation came when Hieron wanted to thank those who’ve helped him and by sending a message to the fans to expect not only a great show from the IFL but in specific him.
“I want to say thanks to Gamma-O, the Xyience Training Center and my team,” said Jay. “I hope all the fans come out because we’re going to put on a great show like we put on last time. We’re coming out to definitely to light the fireworks off.”
“Hopefully if Wilson prepared like I prepared it’s going to be a great fight. That’s what I want to do, put on a great fight, I always go out and try to put on the best show I can. I feel the fight coming, I’m getting excited and all the work’s about to pay off,” concluded Hieron.