Hieron was truly one of the most well-traveled fighters in MMA. He fought for every big organization to grace the sport in the last era. He made his mark in Strikeforce, Bellator, the WEC, and the IFL. In the latter organization, he captured gold for the first and only time in his career, becoming the inaugural IFL welterweight champion.
Hieron’s success in the B-leagues of MMA never translated into success in the UFC, however. He lost all four of his fights in the world’s leading MMA organization. That doesn’t mean Hieron was a poor fighter though. He has wins over the likes of Pat Healy, Rick Story, Jason High, Rick Hawn, and Joe Riggs, (and debatably over Ben Askren). And for the most part, Hieron only lost to the best.
Hieron’s retirement signifies an ending era of MMA. There are few fighters of his ilk anymore—men who have fought for every would-be claimant to the UFC’s throne. The landscape is different now. The only organizations big enough to showcase talent aren’t big enough to keep it.
We wish Jay Hieron the best in his life outside the cage.