Jay Hieron is ready to fight.
Well, more specifically, Jay Hieron has been ready to fight for over a year, but due to contractual issues and promotional problems, he’s been on the sideline since early 2010. Now with his Bellator debut just hours away, Hieron is just happy to get back to work.
Once thought of as the top welterweight contender in Strikeforce, a series of issues arose that prevented Hieron from facing Nick Diaz for the title. With Bellator set up in a tournament format, where Hieron will literally fight his way to a title shot, he’s ready to earn it and doesn’t want anything handed to him.
“It’s not a secret I haven’t fought much these last few years, only one fight a year or not fighting at all, so I want to get it in. I want to fight as much as possible,” Hieron told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I feel I’ve been through politics. There’s no politics with it, there’s no golden boy, nobody’s protected, you go do your job, you go out and fight, you win, you move forward.”
When he was put on hiatus, Hieron was building an impressive seven-fight win streak and on the cusp of cracking the welterweight Top 10. Now as the 170-pound division has moved on without him fighting, Hieron is happy to prove himself again and make people remember who he is.
“I’ve been on the backburner. I’m off the radar and it’s time for me to get back in the mix, and show people I’m still around,” Hierson stated. “I’m pretty much an unknown now, so it’s all good. I feel like I got through a lot of things in my life right now through this last year that would make a lot of fighters pack it in. Just to get back to doing what I love to do is just a blessing.”
Hieron faces Anthony Lapsley in his Bellator debut this Saturday night in California, but he’s looking at this as just the first step towards a greater goal. Ultimately, Hieron wants to face Bellator champion Ben Askren and wrap the welterweight title around his waist.
He maintains his focus on Laspley heading into Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t broken down Askren already if they do meet in a few months.
“I think he’s one-dimensional,” Hieron said about Bellator’s welterweight champion. “He’s a basic wrestler, he doesn’t have too much other skills, but his wrestling is top notch. Definitely not well rounded, but he’s not even on my radar right now. I’m trying to win this tournament one fight at a time and I’ll look at him a lot more.”
Whether it’s Askren, Lapsley or another name on the contract, Hieron is just prepared to fight and stay active. At this point it’s not a matter of who, it’s a matter of when and where.
“I’m ready for whatever, whoever, whenever,” Hieron said. “That’s always been my model, my mind frame, whoever I’m in there with, I’m not looking past anybody. My fight is the first week of March and I’m not looking past that, once we get past that, we’ll talk about the next fight.”
Hieron debuts Saturday night at Bellator 35, which airs live on MTV2.