Jay Hieron has undergone a tremendous amount of adversity heading into his return to the Octagon at UFC on FX 5 on Friday night.
After dealing with cancelled shows, organizations going bankrupt, title shots that weren’t delivered, and losing a controversial decision to Bellator champion Ben Askren, Hieron finally has some momentum in his favor.
Even though UFC 151 was cancelled, luck went to Hieron’s side. Hieron now has almost a full training camp when he rematches Jake Ellenberger on Friday, and he feels that it’s the perfect opponent to return against.
“He was tough back then but he got better but so have I,” Hieron told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I’ve grown as a fighter and that was a long time ago. I got a world developed. I’m a fighter who capitalized on the time off from my career and everything I went through.
“If they could say what you wanted to do and give me the option; I would say that this fight right here is a perfect opportunity, perfect way to come back in, I feel. This is the road I want to take. I feel like I’m ready for any fighter in the UFC in the division. That’s great; why don’t we start with one of the toughest guys?”
Since Ellenberger and Hieron’s days in the IFL, Ellenberger emerged as one of the premier welterweights in the world. For Hieron, that’s exactly the kind of fighter he wants to face in his return and he wouldn’t have it any other way
As the 36-year-old closes in on UFC on FX 5, he wants to write a new chapter in his life and show all the Minnesotans at the Target Center how he’s grown as a fighter.
“I’m at a point in my life where my main focus is fighting. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life outside of fighting. Going through a divorce and contract stuff and everything else that I let get to me a little bit, but you know, you grow as a person, you grow as a human being.
“It’s always a learning process. I always keep my glass half-empty because there’s always something to learn and I feel like I still have more to learn, but I feel this is my time right now. But I feel like there wouldn’t be a more perfect time for me to come back to the UFC.”
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