Jay Hieron works some ground and pound on San Jose Razorclaws' welterweight Donnie Liles at the IFL's event in Los Angeles in March 2007. Provided by IFL. Getty Images.
After close to three years of bouncing from promotion to promotion, Jay Hieron has finally found a home in the IFL, where he has fought six times thus far as a member of the Los Angeles Anacondas.
In those six fights, Hieron quickly established himself as one of the top welterweights in the league. His success earned him a bid in the IFL’s inaugural Grand Prix, pitting four fighters from each weight class against each other in an elimination style tournament, in hopes of crowning a champion.
Hieron sees the Grand Prix as a chance to not only showcase his skills but to prove that he is indeed the best fighter at 170 lbs the IFL has to offer. With the help of those at Xtreme Couture and his former coach Shawn Tompkins, Hieron is set to make the most of the opportunity.
“I’ll be training exclusively at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas for this fight,” said Hieron. “I’ve been working with Mike Pyle, Forrest Griffin, and Randy Couture. Can’t forget about Shawn Tompkins either.”
Hieron has been working with Tompkins for close to three years now. Even though Tompkins was recently released from his duties as Anacondas’ head coach last month, Hieron is glad that he will still have the chance to train with MMA’s premiere striking instructor.
“A lot of people don’t know that I’ve been training with Shawn for years now, way before the IFL even came into play, said Hieron. “He’s helped my striking so much. He’s taught me so many techniques over the years. I’m really glad that he’s finally decided to settle at Xtreme Couture. He’s not going to be coaching the team anymore but I’ll still have a chance to keep working with him. It means a lot.”
Hieron is scheduled to face Mark Miller in the opening round of the Grand Prix. Miller, who joined the Chicago Red Bears earlier this year, currently trains at the Hellhouse along with UFC standout Clay Guida.
Hieron knows that beating Miller isn’t going to be an easy task but is confident that he’s going be victorious.
“Miller is a tough guy,” stated Hieron. “I know he’s coming off a couple of good fights and he usually comes in pretty good shape. He’s a well-rounded fighter so I’m going to be working on my striking and my ground skills. I’m confident going into this fight. I’m training hard and that’s all I can do right now. In order to win this fight I’m going to have to put in the effort in the gym and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m confident that I’m going to have my hand raised at the end. The fight is going to be exciting. It’s going to have some fireworks.”
The IFL will be making history on November 3rd as they will be the first MMA promotion in history to have a live event shown on broadcast television. The world will be able to see those fireworks as the bout between Hieron and Miller is currently slated to be part of the IFL’s one hour broadcast.
“I’d like to make things short and sweet so the fight can make it onto TV but I’m ready to go for all three rounds regardless,” said Hieron. “Just tune into MyNetworkTV on November 3rd. You won’t be disappointed.”
When asked about his thoughts on the Grand Prix itself, Hieron sees it as a big break for the IFL, a chance for the league to put itself on the map in a big way.
“The Grand Prix is a great idea,” noted Hieron. “I think it will help some people catch on with the IFL. It will make the IFL stand out. Hopefully it will get everyone watching. You know, it’s a unique event, something that other big-time MMA promotions don’t offer right now. It’s big for the IFL.”
While MMA may seem like an individual sport, fighters can’t succeed on their own. Hieron wants to thank those who are helping him in preparation for this fight.
“I’d like to thank Affliction, ECKO Clothing, and Xtreme Couture for sponsoring me going into this fight,” said Hieron. “I want to thank everyone at Xtreme Couture for helping me prepare as well.”
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