Right when it seemed he was making the steps needed to take his career to the next level, lightweight prospect Mike Hanks (7-2) was derailed by injury and bad luck, sidelining him for two years.
“It all started when Cody McKenzie and I moved to Las Vegas for the training and stuff, and I was supposed to fight Ryan Healy. Two weeks before the fight I tore my bicep, so that took me out for a while,” said Hanks. “I didn’t have insurance, so I got a job drilling just to pay off the bills and stuff.
“I’ve been trying to get back into fighting and have been training ever since. I almost got onto the last welterweight season of The Ultimate Fighter. I went through all the cuts and the medicals and got cut at the very last minute.
“I was trying to book fights here and there, saying yes to everyone, but couldn’t get a signed fight. I just went back to working and training, and just recently got an opportunity with King of the Cage.”
Having started his career with Lyle Beerbohm and his Fancy Pants Fight Team, Hanks has now settled at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas, home to UFC veterans Vinny Magalhaes, Fredson Paixao and John Gunderson, among others.
When asked how his training at Syndicate has helped him, Hanks replied, “I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here. It’s not just about being tough and beating the crap out of each other every day. There’s a lot I can still learn and do learn every day, so my overall technique and game has improved.”
Hanks will get a chance to showcase his developing skills on Thursday, June 13 in Couer D’Alene, Idaho, against fellow up-and-comer Aaron “Savage” Sutton (5-2).
“Almost all his wins are by submission, so I’m guessing he’s going want to take it to the ground, which I’m fine either way, but I don’t see him catching me in a submission,” said Hanks of Sutton. “It’s either going to be a long night for him or a short night if we stay on our feet.”
For Hanks, the fight kicks off a 24-hour period that will see him cross paths with former teammates of his in Washington state and, in ways, come full-circle with his career.
“I’m coming up there to Spokane to do my last little bit of weight cutting and will see Lyle (Beerbohm) and Dave (Courchaine), then I’m flying back to Las Vegas the morning after my fight (in Idaho) to corner Lyle at the WSOF,” Hanks told MMAWeekly.com.
Now that he’s healthy again and ready to resume his fight career, Hanks is looking forward to staying busy in the coming months and taking the step forward he was intending to take two years ago.
“I signed to do four fights with KOTC on a non-exclusive contract,” concluded Hanks. “But my second fight for them is scheduled for October and I’m looking to get in there and get some wins, get back on the track that I left off of and hopefully get a shot at a title or something bigger in the near future.”