Bellator Fighting Championships today announced the signing of former U.S. Judoka Olympian and fast-rising, undefeated mixed martial artist Rick Hawn to its already stacked welterweight roster.
Managed by his former Judo coach and American Judoka legend Jimmy Pedro, Hawn has amassed a collection of almost two dozen medals in major U.S. and international events, including a 9th place finish in the 2004 Olympic games. Already the most decorated American Judoka artist to make the transition into MMA, Hawn has made quick work of his competition while establishing himself as a knockout finisher, compiling a perfect 8-0 professional record with six of those wins coming via TKO or KO.
“Adding Rick Hawn to our world-class welterweight division is something we are very excited about, “said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Rick’s Judo pedigree can’t be matched, but it’s his striking that puts him a cut above. Ricks’ potential at 170 pounds is really unlimited.
Hawn started his Judoka at 12 years of age and always had his sights set at competing in the Olympic Games. Once he achieved that goal, Hawn needed a new challenge.
“I was always really interested in MMA. 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,” said Hawn. “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.”
The transition to the sport has been seamless. The Massachusetts native won his first five fights in the span of nine months. In his last fight Hawn delivered a second round knockout to battle tested UFC and Bellator veteran Shonie Carter. Even with his accomplishments, the relatively new MMA star is ready for a new challenge.
“I signed with Bellator because I’m looking for that next challenge,” said Hawn. “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 joins Bellator’s stacked welterweight division which includes Champion Lyman Good, former Olympian and Season #2 Champion Ben Askren, and Dan Hornbuckle, all of whom surely have their sights set on the Judoka phenom. Hawn will face his toughest competition yet in Bellator, but it’s something he’s looking forward to.
“Right now I’m just looking to constantly improve but my ultimate goal is to be considered one of the best fighters in MMA,” said Hawn.
Hawn is the third former Olympian to join Bellator’s ranks including Ben Askren and Ferrid Kheder.