Following the trend of his first two years in fighting, featherweight Jake Heffernan was able to once again go undefeated with two wins in 2018 to raise his record to 7-0.
While his success in 2018 mirrored those of years prior, Heffernan feels like it was his most important to date when it came to realizing who he is as a fighter inside the cage.
“Going into the year it was one of those situations where you’re undefeated and get the opportunity to take some risks on your match-ups,” Heffernan told MMAWeekly.com. “It gave me my first experience on travelling to go fight as well.
“The two fights I was able to squeeze in last year kind of made me have a better understanding and respect for my own style and my ability as an MMA fighter.”
Heffernan’s wins over Derek Brenon in March, and Peter Stanonik in March, both helped him realize different things about his game.
“My fight in Denver, Colorado (versus Brenon), it cemented my own career in my head of how hard of a fighter I could be and how hard of a fighter that I’ve become,” said Heffernan.
“That (Stanonik) fight was extremely important for my career. Fighting him was really a stepping stone for my career and making me understand once again not just how good my Jiu-Jitsu was, but how good my striking is and how I’m good enough to pretty much good enough to stand with anybody as long as I have time to train for them.”
On Friday in Belton, Texas, Heffernan (7-0) will look to remain undefeated when he takes on Gabriel Silva (6-0) in the 145-pound co-main event of LFA 63.
“I feel like my experience will definitely show up in the fight,” Heffernan said. “I think he’s pretty stuck on brawling and grappling from what I’ve seen of his fights. That comes back to experience. He hasn’t fought enough times to find out where he wants to go with his main style.
“Those big giant hooks lead into the takedown; if that’s his game plan he’s going to have a very rude awakening on the outside. I feel I’ll be able to pick him apart on the outside, make him dig in on some takedowns and make him get real tired, and see myself being able to finish him in the second round.”
Having placed himself in a good position with a co-main event fight in the LFA to kick off his 2019, Heffernan feels like this could very well be the opportunity that gets him to the next level of his career.
“My overall goal is success,” said Heffernan. “I’m not exactly rushing, but 2019 is definitely my year. I full-heartedly believe I’ll be on the Contender Series this year, if not knocking on the UFC’s door.
“Dana White will be at my fight, so it will be an opportunity time to show out and show up and show him who I am and make him remember my name. I think 2019 is going to be a big year for making it to the next level for sure.”