Almost seven years after his last appearance in the octagon, multi-promotion veteran Jay Hieron has been given another shot at competing on the biggest stage in the sport resigned to the UFC. Last making his fighting in July making his debut for LegacyFC, Hieron has been called in on short notice to replace recently injured TUF1 alumni Josh Koscheck who was to take on Jake Ellenberger in the co-main event for UFC 151. Hieron will now take on Ellenberger still at UFC 151, which will be a rematch after Hieron won in their first meeting via Unanimous Decision in 2006.
After going 7-2 in his first nine professional bouts that included going 0-2 in the UFC with a Rnd1 TKO defeat from Georges St. Pierre and a Rnd3 TKO defeat from Jonathan Goulet, Hieron has competed in multiple major promotions following his release. Those promotions have included competing in regional promotions TitanFC and LegacyFC, now defunct promotions the International Fight League and Affliction, and in major promotions Strikeforce and BellatorFC. Since his release from the UFC in 2005 Hieron has gone 16-3, which included a ten fight win streak from 2007 to 2011.
After going 5-2 following his release from the UFC, Hieron competed in the IFL Welterweight Grand Prix becoming the promotions first and only Welterweight champion defending the title once all over the course of three bouts. Next earning one victory each in SuperFights MMA and Affliction, Hieron joined Strikeforce where he earned Unanimous Decision victories over fellow UFC veterans Jesse Taylor and Joe Riggs. With those two bouts Hieron fulfilled his Strikeforce contract and was in negotiations to resign with the promotion, but demands including an immediate title shot against then champion Nick Diaz prevented both parties from coming to an agreement.
Moving on to compete in BellatorFC he competed in the Season 4 Welterweight tournament, though his bouts were marred with controversy as he won in the quarterfinals via Rnd1 Submission claiming his opponent was unconscious when he was still resisting the choke, winning his semifinal bout in a close Unanimous Decision, and winning a Split Decision in the tournament finals. Earning a title shot having won the tournament he faced division champion Ben Askren at Bellator 56 where he lost via controversial Split Decision. Due to BellatorFC’s tournament format of “title shots are earned, not given”, Hieron would have to compete in another tournament to get a second crack at the title. With BellatorFC unwilling to allow a rematch for the title without having him compete in a tournament, Hieron was released from his contract upon his request.
Following his release from BellatorFC he signed with LegacyFC and debuted in the promotion’s 12th event where he faced late replacement Romario da Silva. After a good performance in the first round, Hieron began locking on a “d’arce choke” that Da Silva was calmly resisting. Stuck in that position the referee shook Da Silva’s free wrist to make sure he was not already unconscious, which Da Silva acknowledged with a thumbs up gesture to show he was ok. The referee paid no attention to the gesture and after Hieron said that Da Silva was already unconscious he called a stop to the bout waving his hands thus signaling an end to the bout, which was followed by Da Silva showing he was clearly awake and still able to continue. With the bout ending in controversy a rematch was expected to be arranged for the next event, but those plans are now scrapped with Hieron resigning with the UFC.
Now set to make his long desired return to the octagon, Hieron has an opportunity to earn a second victory Ellenberger who has become a legitimate contender and was one victory away from competing in a potential #1 contendership bout. If he can take a victory over Ellenberger on short notice, then Hieron could see a tremendous jump in his stock accelerating his rise up the ranks. Who knows…he could even get another chance at a bout with Nick Diaz that was originally supposed to be his debut fight back in Strikeforce. Even in defeat though Hieron could still be matched up against some quality opponents with plenty of well recognized talent making up the top 20 ranks of the division.
Written by @MMAFANHQ