(Hieron vs. Jason High at Affliction: DoR. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long.)
Xtreme Couture welterweight Jay Hieron takes on Paul "Semtex" Daley on the August 1st Affliction: Trilogy card (which is, as far as we know at this point, still happening) and we checked in with him to see how his preparation is coming, what he thinks of the recent disparaging remarks made about his gym, and what he’ll do if there isn’t an Affliction: Tetralogy show in the somewhat near future.
The fight’s a little over a week away. How are you feeling?
Great, man. Training’s been great. I’m in tremendous shape. I just have to get through this last hard week and then let my body heal up and I’m ready to fight.
Have you done much scouting on Paul Daley?
Yeah, I’ve seen a few of his fights. I think he’s a good striker. He’s explosive. But I’m definitely more well-rounded and that’s what MMA is all about.
You’re an Xtreme Couture fighter so I assume you heard Kit Cope’s recent comments about your gym. He said it’s a place where guys who are already good can get a workout, but that it doesn’t actually make fighters. What do you think of that?
I think he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You ask anyone in the gym, Xtreme Couture made all of us better. Those of us who have been there since the gym opened know that, and a lot of us, our careers only really started to take off after we came here. He’s just butt-hurt because he tried to come over here and the doors got closed on him.
Really. They just wouldn’t let him train there?
I don’t know exactly why, but probably because of what he’s doing now. He’s just out there talking crap.
There’s talk that this may be Affliction’s last event. Do you worry about where you’ll fight next if that happens?
I try not to think too far ahead. I got this fight coming up on August 1st with Daley, so I’m thinking about that. But after that, we’ll look and see where we’re at. I’ve been down that road before, where I was fighting for an organization and they end up not having any more shows. That’s just part of this sport. You can’t worry about any of that because you can’t control it. I just have to go out and handle my business.
It seems tough to plan for your future if you don’t know whether the company you’re working for will even be around in a few months.
Yeah, it’s tough. But the great thing is I have offers on the table. With me being with Affliction I was non-exclusive, which is great. I was negotiating with Dream and with Strikeforce, so regardless, after this fight I’m going to have a deal on the table somewhere, whether Affliction has another show or not. I’m not really that stressed about it to tell you the truth. It is what it is. I’m just thinking about winning this fight.
You beat Jason High in your last Affliction fight, and beat him soundly. Then he went over to Japan and made it into the finals of the Dream welterweight tournament earlier this week. When you see something like that do you ever think, ‘Damn, I could have gone over there and maybe won the whole thing.’
I really don’t cry over spilled milk. They actually called me for that tournament, but it wasn’t the right timing. No matter what, I can’t even think about it. If it was the right time it would have been great to fight in that thing. But hey, God bless him. He’s coming back after a loss, picking himself up and training hard and fighting well and he made it into the finals, so good for him.
We’ve heard a lot recently about fighters signing on to the EA Sports MMA video game. Have you been approached by the people from EA Sports about being in their game?
Not yet. But if the opportunity comes up it’d be great.
You wouldn’t worry about the UFC’s threat to blacklist fighters who sign on for that?
I would definitely think about that. But the thing about it is there are other fighters who are in the EA Sports MMA game already, and they fight for the UFC. And if a lot of other people start signing on, I don’t know how much that blacklist stuff will really stand.
What do you think is the biggest difference between the fighter you are now and the guy you were in the IFL?
Confidence, man. I’m way more confident now than I was back then. Training the way I train, with the caliber of guys I train with, that really helped me feel more confident.
Thanks, Jay. Anything else you want to add?
Just thanks to my camp, all my trainers and my training partners, and be sure to check me out on August 1st.