Hawn scored a first round knockout in his promotion debut at Bellator 33 (Photo courtesy of Bellator).
Former U.S. Judo Olympian Ready to Compete for Welterweight Title Shot
Bellator Fighting Championships has confirmed that former U.S. Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (9-0) has been added to its Season 4 Welterweight Tournament. Coming off a first round knockout of LeVon Maynard in his promotion debut at Bellator 33, Hawn will put his perfect record on the line in this eight-man competition to earn the right to battle Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren for the title.
“I'm looking forward to possibly getting the chance to fight Ben for the championship,” Hawn remarked. “He's an Olympian, an incredible athlete, and the next time we see him I'm sure he's going to have improved tremendously. I think a fight between us would be a great clash of styles, and I don't think two true Olympians have ever fought in the history of MMA.”
The Bellator tournament platform is also something that Hawn feels will suit him well due to his extensive past in Judo.
“I'm definitely used to the tournament format due to my background in Judo,” Hawn stated. “I've been competing in Judo competitions for many years with a very similar structure, so I'm definitely used to it, and I'm looking forward to doing it again.”
Of Hawn’s nine 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 34-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.
“Rick was incredibly impressive in his first fight with Bellator, and is a perfect fit for our Welterweight Tournament,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “This tournament is shaping up to be one of our most competitive and talent-rich yet, and I can’t wait to see who will be facing Ben Askren for our World Championship after all is said and done.”
Hawn works under the tutelage of his former Judo coach and legendary American Judoka Jimmy Pedro, and he represents Team Sityodtong out of Massachusetts.