Rick Hawn joins a stacked Bellator Welterweight Division (Photo courtesy of Brianna Calello).
Former U.S Olympic Judoka is Undefeated as Pro Mixed Martial Artist
Chicago, Ill. (Wednesday, September 8, 2010) – Bellator Fighting Championships continues to add some of the top prospects in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) game, announcing today the signing of undefeated welterweight Rick Hawn (8-0). The former U.S. Olympic Judoka will join another unbeaten former Olympian in the welterweight division in Ben Askren, who was the winner of the Bellator Season 2 Welterweight Tournament.
“Adding Rick Hawn to our world-class welterweight division is something we are very excited about,” said Bjorn Rebney, Bellator Chairman and CEO. “Rick’s Judo pedigree can’t be matched, but it’s his striking that puts him a cut above. Rick’s potential at 170 pounds is really unlimited.”
Of Hawn’s eight professional fights, only twice has the match made it out of the second round, with all six of his other bouts resulting in a TKO or knockout. The Massachusetts native started his professional MMA career in January of 2009 with a first round TKO of Bruno DeCosta, and the 33-year-old Judo specialist did not allow his opponent to hear the second round bell until his fifth fight. Before turning to MMA, Hawn shined as an American Judoka Artist, winning almost two dozen medals in U.S. and international competition while also claiming a ninth place finish in the 2004 Olympic Games.
“I was always really interested in MMA,” Hawn stated. “I followed MMA when I was really young, when it was first on pay-per-view, but I wanted to see how far I could go with Judo first. Once I reached the Olympics, I figured that it was time to start devoting the majority of my time to MMA. I was just really excited to get started on my new career.”
Hawn works under the tutelage of his former Judo coach and legendary American Judoka Jimmy Pedro, and he represents Team Sityodtong out of Massachusetts. After rolling out an eight-match winning streak to start his professional MMA career, Hawn said that he wanted to continue to push himself by signing with Bellator.
“I signed with Bellator because I’m looking for that next challenge,” he remarked. “Bellator has a lot of really good welterweights, and I think I fit in well to that division. I'm really looking forward to testing myself against this level of competition.”
Hawn’s first fight with Bellator will be announced in the upcoming weeks, while the promotion next returns to action on Thursday from the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in New Orleans for Bellator 28. This trip marks Bellator’s first event in New Orleans, and the night will be headlined by a lightweight pairing of Carey Vanier (9-3) and UFC veteran Rich “No Love” Clementi (37-16-1).