Highly regarded welterweight Jay Hieron has inked an exclusive contract with Bellator Fighting Championships, the organization announced today. The Xtreme Couture 7-year veteran trained fighter has been confirmed for 2011’s Bellator Season 4 Welterweight Tournament. Currently riding a seven-fight, three year win streak, Hieron enters the promotion with an impressive 19-4 professional record and is widely regarded to be among the top contenders at 170 lbs.
“The Thoroughbred” is a true veteran of the sport, competing and eventually becoming the Welterweight Champion of the now defunct IFL. No stranger to the big stage, Hieron won both of his fights with Affliction before moving on to Strikeforce where he also compiled an unblemished record of 2-0.
“Jay Hieron is a fantastic signing for us at 170 lbs.,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “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.”
Growing up near Long Island, New York, Hieron found an outlet for his aggression through high school and college wrestling before running into personal problems outside of the cage. After his problems reached a breaking point, Hieron made the decision to get back into the gym where he first discovered MMA. It was a decision that saved his life.
“The gym is really what saved me,” said Hieron. “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.”
“The Thoroughbred” is currently one of the team leaders at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, the training center of MMA legend Randy Couture.
“I’m really proud to be a part of the gym,” Hieron said. “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.”
Hieron now joins Bellator as one of the most dangerous fighters to enter the already stacked welterweight division with notable victories over the likes of UFC veteran Jake Ellenberger, Jason High, Delson Heleno, Jesse Taylor and Joe Riggs.
Having not entered the cage since January of this year, Hieron is eager to return to doing what he does best, and it was the unique Bellator tournament format that admittedly attracted the well rounded Hieron to the promotion.
“It’s just a great fit for me,” said Hieron. “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.”
Hieron joins Season 2 finalist Dan Hornbuckle, undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn, Season 2 semifinalist Steve Carl, undefeated knockout artist Chris Lozano, UK standout “Judo” Jim Wallhead, and fast-rising finisher Brent Weedman as fighters that have been confirmed for the upcoming Bellator Season 4 Welterweight Tournament, slated for 2011.