Hieron brings a stellar 19-4 record to Bellator.
Hieron will Enter Season 4 Welterweight Tournament
The intrigue surrounding where free agent Jay Hieron (19-4) would sign came to a conclusion this week, with the skillful welterweight inking a deal with Bellator Fighting Championships. Hieron, who has not lost a fight in well over three years, is also confirmed to be competing in the upcoming Bellator Season 4 Welterweight Tournament.
“Jay Hieron is a fantastic signing for us at 170 pounds,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. “Jay is a world-class fighter with serious talent. I can’t wait to see him back on national television, competing against other top fighters, where he belongs. Jay’s a spectacular addition to our upcoming Season 4 Welterweight Tournament, where he could earn a shot at our Bellator Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren.”
Hieron most recently fought a pair of matches with Strikeforce, scoring unanimous decision victories over Jesse Taylor and Joe Riggs. While he has not competed since January of this year, the Long Island native has been one of the most desired free agents in Mixed Martial Arts, and the uniqueness of the Bellator weight division tournaments is something that ultimately made up his mind for him.
“It’s just a great fit for me,” Hieron remarked. “At this point in my career, I want to stay as active as possible, and the tournament format allows me to do that. It’s a great organization, and it’s just the perfect fit.”
Known as the Thoroughbred, Hieron has won his past seven fights and has been very successful in a variety of MMA promotions. In addition to appearances in the UFC, Strikeforce and Affliction, he was one of the top fighters in the now defunct International Fight League (IFL) and held its welterweight title. Hieron wrestled at Hofstra University after winning a National Junior College Championionship at Nassau Community College in New York. However, he was dismissed from Hofstra before his senior year for marijuana use, and he then fought the lure of a street life before being encouraged by friends to get back to doing what he did best.
“The gym is really what saved me,” Hieron said. “I was going through some real tough times, and the gym was a place I could go and get away from it all. I got a little taste of MMA from a few guys in the gym, and fell in love with it.”
Hieron is now a team leader for Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, which is headed by UFC veteran, Randy Couture. Representing one of the legendary teams in the sport is something of significant pride for the 34-year-old fighter.
“I’m really proud to be a part of the gym,” Hieron confirmed. “I was there before it was ever called Xtreme Couture, so it’s an important place to be, and I’m really happy to see it doing so well.”
Among the other welterweights slated to join Hieron in the Bellator Season 4 Tournament include Season 2 Finalist Dan Hornbuckle, undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn, Season 2 Semifinalist Steve Carl, unbeaten knockout artist Chris Lozano, Englishman Jim Wallhead and veteran Brent Weedman. The tournament is tentatively scheduled to get underway in February.