by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Taking four months off between fights isn’t rare for most fighters in MMA. In fact, for most high-profile athletes in the sport it’s more common than not, unless you’re Jeremy Horn.
A veteran of over 100 fights, Horn has been known for his great durability and activity rate during his nearly 11-year career.
This is after all a fighter that has taken upwards of 20-plus documented fights in a single year and has even participated at two separate events on the same day. So for Jeremy to take any extended period of time off from fighting is a rarity.
Things do however change in people’s lives, and such is the case for Horn, who is currently the #9 Middleweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings.
Over the past couple years Jeremy has relocated from Iowa, home of his original base Miletich Fighting Systems, to Utah and started his own school, Elite Performance Gym and settled down.
Signing with the UFC for the second time 2005 also slowed things down a bit for Horn. Contract exclusivity and most athletic commissions’ rules on how often a fighter can participate in sanctioned events also cut down on the number of fights Jeremy has had over the past couple years.
After his stint in the UFC, in which Horn won two of three fights, losing only to Light-Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell, Jeremy signed with the IFL.
In a fans’ dream match-up, Horn faced off against #1 MMAWeekly Ranked Middleweight Matt Lindland in September of last year. After a back and forth first round, Jeremy was dropped by Lindland and finished for only the second time ever via TKO.
Shortly after the loss Horn made the decision to take time off from the sport.
Now after four months of recharging his batteries, Jeremy Horn returns to action tonight in Oakland, California for the first show on the IFL’s 2007 schedule as he headlines the event in a superfight against fellow veteran Niko Vitale.
While both fighters have on occasion shown more than an ability to hold their own standing, it’s to no one’s surprise that this one is most destined to go to the ground.
Both Horn and Vitale are skilled grapplers, mastering the art of submission wrestling. So in a match of fighters that are both gifted in the same aspect of the sport, what could be the determining factor in the fight is intangibles.
For Jeremy one of the things that’s always stood out about him that many don’t possess – including champions in other promotions – is a level of calmness that is second to none. Simply put, it’s virtually impossible to rattle Horn’s cage.
Whether it’s standing and defending strikes or on the ground on his back under a ground ‘n pound assault or defending a submission, there’s rarely ever a moment when Jeremy isn’t in complete control of the situation.
In a sport where fighters are becoming more indistinguishable skills-wise due to the mass of cross-training, it’s the mistakes, rather than the assault, that often determines a fight’s outcome.
With Horn there are very few mistakes and now that he’s rested and once again focused on the task at hand, we could very well be seeing the beginning of a great run from one of the sport’s all-time best fighters should he get past Vitale tonight.
From the days of fighting in smoke-filled bars to headlining a 20,000 seat area, Jeremy Horn has seen and done just about everything the sport of MMA has to offer. He’s been an originator, an innovator, and continues to push himself and others to evolve and come up with new ways to compete.
Tonight in Oakland Horn has the opportunity to start writing the next chapter in his career, a career that could very well see him with the label “Legend” when all is said and done.