If you see Jay Hieron loading up a shotgun and aiming it directly at the good luck fairy, don’t be surprised. Dude rocked it in the International Fight League and became IFL’s first welterweight champion. He even defended his belt against Mark Miller with a first round TKO. He was the reigning badass in IFL and literally overnight, the entire organization disappeared. Hieron was left with a giant metallic belt that didn’t really match with anything in his wardrobe so he went to fight for Affliction in ‘Day of Reckoning’. After serving Jason High a brutal first round KO in a little bit over a minute, everyone in Anaheim sort of stood there in silence. It was as if they witnessed the detonation of the atom bomb all within the confines of a padded ring. That night, everyone saw what Hieron does on a daily basis…dude just cleans competition and mops the floor behind him. Jay was scheduled to fight in that mythical event known as Affliction: Trilogy against Semtex but…well let’s just say we all know what happened with that (pretty sure I stubbed my toe kicking that dead horse). Hieron was out a paycheck and had no organization to fight under. UFC propositioned Hieron to sign with their promotion but Hieron, who just signed with EA Sports MMA, refused their offer and instead chose Strikeforce instead. Hieron’s decision was primarily based on an instant title shot Strikeforce offered him against Nick Diaz. The universe was finally aligned to give Hieron what he deserved and…the universe decided to urinate on his future once again. Diaz intentionally missed the CSAC drug test forcing him to drop out of the fight and the title shot scheduled for Hieron was demoted to a non-televised regular welterweight bout. That night, Hieron got drunk off his ‘I’m a complete badass’ potion (you can only get it at Xtreme Couture) and won a convincing unanimous decision over his opponent Jesse Taylor.
MiddleEasy interviewer, D**k ‘Starscream’ Grayson, had a chance to open up Hieron’s brain and throw a party in it. Check out our exclusive interview with Jay Hieron, only at MiddleEasy.com – Because MMA is everything.
I grew up in Brooklyn, you grew up in Long Island. What type of kid were you?
Ah man, Curious kid, you know? Getting into trouble…small kid getting picked on all the time. Where I come from
there are no one-on-one fights so I was always pretty much getting jumped. You know…just looking for an ‘out’. Looking for something.
One of your favorite movies is True Romance, why do you like that so much?
Man I just like it. The action, the story behind it, the incredible flip to Hollywood part. The guy goes for his dream and it may be a crazy dream but at the end of the day he’s walking down the beach living the good life.
He also plays Dracula. Which part was better: Dracula, Gangster or Gordon?
The dreadlocked gangster, for sure.
Do you think refer enhances, deters or has a neutral effect on performance?Nah, I don’t think it has any…it doesn’t help you at all that’s for sure. I think it will give you the munchies, that’s about it.
Since that fight with Nick Diaz fell through, what are you doing in the meantime?
Training, staying active. Helping all the boys, they have big fights coming up in the gym
so I’m helping them out. I’m hoping on that Diaz fight, for my next fight again in Strikeforce for the title. My understanding is no matter what, even if it’s not Diaz, I get a title shot in my next fight for Strikeforce
. You know, I can’t really control what Nick does. I think that’s a great fight for me and him…and for the fans. That’s a great fight. Outside of the UFC there are only a few top 170 pounders and I think me and him are two of them.
If that fight does go down, what is Nick Diaz’s best asset?
Um…you know, I think he’s pretty well-rounded and he’s definitely tough. I think he’s a tough kid…and I think that’s it, he’s a tough kid. He’s good at ju-jitsu, good at striking, his wrestling
is ok…but I think all in all, he’s a tough kid.
Out of all the things that happened in the past year, which one sucked the most?Wow. Man. They all SUCKED. I can’t put one hurt worst than the other because they all felt bad but I think I just learned how to deal with it because the same thing kept on happening to me over and over again so I had to learn how to deal with it and refocus. At the end of the day, everything turned out alright.
What are your thoughts on the GSP/BJ Penn rivalry? It’s over. That’s the past. Look on to the future.
You think there’s going to be a third fight?I don’t think there should be. GSP is up 2-0. That chapter is over, move on to the next.
GSP vs. Anderson Silva at a catchweight. What happens?Anderson. Too big, too strong. Striking is too good…too many advantages on his part against GSP. Not taking anything away from GSP, I just think…this guy, he’s fighting at 205 and doing great things up there. A lower weight can’t come up and touch him I don’t think.
What do you expect to see in the Fedor/Brett Roger’s fight?Ah…Fedor. I think Fedor. I think submission sometime in the first round. Brett Rogers is a big kid, big guy but I think Fedor is just too well-rounded for him.
What do you expect to see in the Carwin/Lesnar fight?
Wow. Shane Carwin’s a big guy
, he’s got a wrestling background, heavy hands. If he utilizes his wrestling to stay on his feet I definitely think he can win that fight. I mean Brock…I don’t think he’s well- rounded yet but he does have the size and the mass so that’s always an advantage. He takes guys down and pounds them. But like I said, Carwin is a big guy too and if he utilizes his wrestling to stay on his feet I think he can win that fight.
You think MMA should institute another division between LHW and HW?Yeah. Randy’s fighting Brock Lesnar…walking in the cage at 220, 225 at the most and Brock is easily 270, 275. So I think so, but it’s still a growing sport.
What do you think about Manny and Cotto?
I think…man…I bet against Pac-Man before and he knocked Del La Hoya’s block off
. I don’t know, I think Cotto has been showing big heart, he’s going to be real big at whatever weight they fight at. I think I’m leaning a little more towards Cotto. But like I said I bet against Manny before so…I wouldn’t put money on it. Put it like that. But I give a slight edge to Cotto.
What fight would you like to see happen in MMA? Jay Hieron and GSP…2.
The IFL was the most unique organization ever. How was it like fighting in there?It was actually good. They definitely treated the fighters right. It was a little different, they had the team concept. I was on salary with them so I was getting a check every month which was great for being a fighter because you fight pay check to pay check when you fight so that definitely keeps your mind at ease that you know you got money coming in it makes everything smooth with training, you get your bills paid and stuff. They were always professional. They definitely treated us right. They may not have made the best business decisions but they always treated the fighters good.
Name two benefits of not fighting in the UFC.
I don’t know if there’s any benefits…that’s definitely the NFL of the MMA world. My decision to not go with them and to go with Strikeforce was a couple more incentives like a title shot, you know how many times do you get a title shot in your career? So I really couldn’t turn the title shot down. Then I signed a deal with the EA Sports videogame
so that was another reason I couldn’t sign with them. But they did step up to the plate this time with the money, they did offer me great money which I was definitely surprised about. I was really, really close to signing back with the UFC
. I was going to go back with them and Strikeforce just threw another number at me
, gave me a bonus and I signed with the EA Sports videogame
. So at the end of the day, I feel like I made the right decision and the UFC isn’t going anywhere anyway, I want to end my career there but we’ll see what happens. My main focus now is to get this title in Strikeforce.
What’s another camp that impresses you besides Xtreme Couture?
Definitely Jackson’s camp
. American Top Team
, they’re good. There’s a lot of great camps out there. The numbers prove itself, you look at guys camps and see how many of their fighters are doing good and that says it all in itself right there. Our camp is definitely one of the top camps for sure, got a lot of great guys coming in, training
. Definitely those other camps I mentioned are great camps too.
You train with Forrest too, what’s he been up to since his fight with Silva?
Actually I just seen Forrest today, we were rolling around doing some jits…he’s about to get married this weekend
so he’s walking down the aisle with that…that’s going to feel like walking down to the cage I guess.
So you also trained with Gina Carano, am I correct? Yeah, actually never trained hands on. I don’t really train with the women, when I’m training for a fight it’s all guys.
What percent of average dudes can Gina beat-up in a fight?I guess a few, you know? I think it’s a little tougher for a woman because a man’s pride is on the line when he tries to fight with a chick, but a regular guy on the street Gina would kill him.
What were your thoughts on Gina/Cyborg?A great fight for women’s MMA. They both laid it on the line, Gina came up a little short but it happens. It’s the name of the game man. It’s the hurt business. Now we have to see what she does next, pick herself up and get back out there.
Now she’s doing movies now, do you think her focus will be split between the two?I…I can’t tell you that brother, don’t have any idea. We’ll see…she’s doing movies now?
What do you think women’s MMA needs to do to maintain the spotlight?I have no idea bro. The men’s MMA is still trying to get on the forefront, that should be the main focus right now really. We’re not even legalized in New York where I’m from and that’s one of my dreams right now is to fight in the Madison Square Garden before my career is over so…the women’s fighting is cool and all but the men’s fighting has to travel a lot of distance before that can even be accepted, the men’s fighting isn’t even that accepted yet. I love Gina to death, she’s like a sister but again…men’s fighting needs to go over leaps and bounds to get to where it’s accepted.
Five-minute or three-minute rounds for women?
Yeah, I mean if they want to fight they should fight the same time as men. The only two fighter’s that are good to me in women’s MMA are Gina and Cyborg. That’s really the only two I would even watch. My opinion doesn’t matter…but that’s my opinion. Before women’s MMA goes anywhere the men’s MMA still got to break down barriers and we still have to get legalized in states like New York and stuff like that. Huge progress in the past couple of years but it’s still a baby. Those main sponsors that we don’t have yet like Nike and the big time…the money isn’t like…the money is good from a couple of years ago but still, it’s not like…
You’re putting more on the line than any other sport.Yeah, exactly. It’s not like the NFL and all of that. The popularity of it is definitely getting out there but again, like I said, the men’s MMA still has to go through barriers and the women’s MMA isn’t going to go anywhere until that happens.
How do you spend your down time?
Man just trying to relax. Eating chocolate. Letting my hair down
and just trying to have fun. Relax. Because when you’re training for a fight your mind is so focused, you’re putting so much pressure on your body to stay in shape that you got to have balance so I just try to kick back and have fun with my training like I’m doing now, helping the guys out and just having fun with it.
Any hobbies? Collect baseball cards…
I have a 76 Impala
that I’ve been working on for a couple of years now so that’s a little hobby of mine. I like watching movies and stuff…a lot of guys in the gym like videogames. I hate videogames…until the EA Sports game
comes out, I’m not playing any.
Who plays videogames alot in your camp?Mike Pyle is probably the best guy in the gym on videogames. Then Gray Maynard…everybody in there plays videogames. I’m kind of like the outcast with that probably because I’m not that good at it, I’m real competitive…I like to win at everything I do so that’s probably why.
Well what’s the geekiest thing you’re into?Let me think…I don’t think I’m into anything that’s geeky. I’m trying to think…I don’t know man. I don’t have a pocket pencil, I do have some glasses though. I may look like a geek when I’m watching TV…but that’s probably where it ends.
When you go out in Vegas, what do you do?Go out to the clubs. Hang out. I don’t drink at all so I drink some water and Redbull and just have a good time, you know? We get treated real good out here, everybody knows who we are and they give us the VIP treatment. That’s definitely cool. Vegas is a great place if you want to come party but you got to draw the line, you can’t party too much. Some people can’t live here because they have access to everything out here. I’m a real strong-minded person so especially when I’m in camp I try to stay away from all of that.
What’s the most common food you’re found eating?
Fried chicken man. I love chicken. After my fight I eat fried chicken but I eat that grilled chicken
. After training camp I start growing feathers because I eat chicken so much.
Randy Couture’s BBQs look baller. Have you ever been to one?
Yeah man I’ve been to his house a bunch of times and he throws down on that grill so it’s good times bro. Everybody down here at the gym
, we’re like a family and we got them little get togethers so it’s all cool.
Would you rather be able to fly, be invisible or breathe underwater?Wow…probably fly.
In terms of insurance, what happens when you get injured?Ah…you’re fucked. Most cases it depends, if you get hurt in a fight it’s taken care of. If you get hurt in training, most fighters have to take care of it theirself. Like I said, MMA is a growing sport and we have lots of leaps and bounds to go over and that’s probably one of them. A lot of fighters can’t afford health insurance, but that’s just part of the game.
What changed from you getting picked on to now? I grew up and started defending myself. There comes a day and time when you have to do that and there was that time when everything clicked and switched. I was tired of getting picked on and I did something about it.
Yeah definitely, Xtreme Couture
, all the boys that got fights coming up…big shout out to them. Everybody’s ready down here so they’re going to go out and do their thing. That’s it. Thanks for having me.