If just returning from nearly a year and a half off from fighting wasn’t good enough, XFC lightweight contender Jason “The Ronin” Hicks did so in impressive fashion in 2012 winning both his fights and raising his undefeated record to 5-0.
“The year before, I wasn’t able to fight, I had some injuries that were nagging me and I wasn’t able to stay as active as I wanted to,” said Hicks. “In 2012, I was able to come back healthy and put together a couple of wins, so I feel good.
“Once I got over my injuries and got into the swing of training, it was just a matter of getting the right fights and opportunities.”
Hicks told MMAWeekly.com that for the most part his effectiveness in the cage was still there and continues to improve each time out.
“In my last fight in August against (Shane) Crenshaw, I wanted to stand up a little more, but I wasn’t able to because he was trying to take me down the whole time,” said Hicks. “Otherwise I felt great in my performances and will only get better.
“I think I’m approaching my peak. I’m not sure if I’m quite there, but I’m thinking a lot more clearly in my training and am experimenting a little bit more and am having a lot more fun in training. My striking and my ground are getting a lot better, and any weaknesses I had my last couple of fights are starting to disappear.”
Hicks acknowledges that he’ll have to be at his best when he returns to the XFC on Friday against Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman in a lightweight title eliminator bout live on AXS TV from Charlotte, N.C.
“I think Scott is definitely my toughest fight of my career so far,” said Hicks. “He’s a young guy, athletic, confident, super-strong and good everywhere – he’s a mixed martial artist. (To counteract that) I’m hoping to use my stand-up to my advantage, to be honest.”
With the winner to receive a shot at XFC 155-pound champion Nick Newell later this year, it would be understandable if Hicks were to get sidetracked by the possible rewards of a win on Feb. 22, but he feels he won’t.
“Of course I’m going to have to think about it here and there – getting a shot at the title, a shot at the gold – but at the end of the day the guy that I’m going to be fighting now is really tough and I have to stay focused on Holtzman, and I am,” said Hicks.
“I really don’t get distracted by what the future could hold.”
(Photo courtesy of XFC)