Jay Hieron fights Joe Riggs on Jan. 30 at Strikeforce: Miami at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The welterweight title contender says he is happy with Riggs as an opponent, not letting his focus waiver.
ďIím totally satisfied with the opponent,Ē Hieron told MMAWeekly.com. ďUnfortunately Riggs, heís a good guy. We trained together a couple of years back. I like him as a person. Heís a funny dude, but itís business.Ē
Hieron was lined up to fight Nick Diaz for the Strikeforce welterweight crown last August, but when Diaz failed to take a drug screening to get his license in California, Hieron instead went on to defeat Jesse Taylor on the preliminary card that night.
Offered a fight with Dream titleholder Marius Zaromskis, Hieron turned down the bout citing Zaromskisí lack of name value in America. He feels Riggs is the more well-known competitor.
ďI mean me and him (Riggs) are the only two other guys in Strikeforce with names, and at this point in my career thatís who I need to fight,Ē said the Xtreme Couture trained athlete. ďI need to fight names because after the fight I want my stock to go up. Itís that point for me already. Itís unfortunate with Riggs, but come fight day itís all business.Ē
A bout with Diaz or Zaromskis is likely to happen for Hieron if he gets past Riggs, but the 33-year-old veteran isnít distracted by future possibilities. Heís solely focused on Riggs.
ďIím not looking past Riggs. Heís definitely somebody thatís been around the game for a minute on the top level. Itís an exciting fight,Ē said Hieron. ďIím not looking past nothing. Iíve got great sparring partners right now and southpaw. Iím feeling real good right now, so come fight night Iíll be ready to go.Ē
Riggs is known for his heavy hands, but Hieron knows thereís much more than meets the eye with the crafty Arizonian.
ď(Riggsí) got some wrestling skills. Heís got some jits skills. I mean heís well-rounded. If you go into a fight thinking about one thing, itís probably going to end early,Ē he commented. ďIíve got a well-rounded game and Iím going out there and try to put it all together.
ďEverything is on the money right now. Iím sharp. My headís good. Iím healthy, and thatís all I could ask for right now. Everything is going well. Iím peaking right. Iím excited to be a part of the show on the 30th. Fighting solves everything.Ē