Jimy Hettes, Mike Tyson's punchout

Jimy Hettes Q&A: Colorful Cornermen, Octagon Jitters and Mike Tyson’s Punchout

Jimy Hettes burst on to the regional mixed martial arts scene in northeastern Pennsylvania back in 2009. Prior to that “The Kid” the Keystone State native was chalking up wins in Kentucky, New Jersey, and Virginia. It was in August 2011 that the then undefeated pro MMA fighter has stepped into the UFC octagon for the very first time. Following a second win for the organization, UFC President Dana White then said, “I know how Jimy Hettes is now.”

Tony Reid of MyMMANews.com caught up with Hettes for a fun question and answer session. Check out the chat below.

Tony Reid – With one look at you we can tell your nickname “The Kid” is well deserved, can you share a story with us where not looking your age came into play?

Jimy Hettes – “Yeah. Every time I wanted to fight they would always give me a hard time about it. When I first started fighting I was only 18. A lot of times they (fans) would forget my name so they would ask if “The Kid” was fighting so that’s how the name came to be. Sometimes I still get carded going into movie theaters and stuff like that.”

Tony Reid – You trained with the guys in Tom’s River, NJ such as Frankie Edgar, Tom DeBlass, Kris McCray among others. From what I hear McCray is a pretty colorful cornerman. What is the craziest thing he ever said or done while cornering you during a fight?

Jimy Hettes – “The stuff you guys get to hear is just the tip of the iceberg. If you think he’s crazy that’s because he is crazy. When I was fighting Bruce Leroy I was on my back and most corners would say “You are doing a good job” or something like that. When I went to the corner he gave me his whole “What are you doing laying on your back you look like a girl out there. You look like a bitch.” That’s how I like to get talked to in a corner. Don’t tell me I’m doing great if I’m not. I want to hear the truth. I want someone to tell me what I need to hear. He’s the perfect man for the job.”

Tony Reid – Many people in MMA talk about the “Octagon Jitters” that a fighter gets leading up to his first fight or even during his first fight in the UFC. Looking back at your UFC debut, is there anything to that theory of the “Octagon Jitters”?

Jimy Hettes – “Every time I heard it on TV I thought it was B.S. I would say to my friends that the fighters were performing because they weren’t ready or something like that. I was the number one critic of that idea. Then the first time I was in the Octagon the first round was like a whole other world. There is some truth behind it. It just goes to show you how well you can keep your cool under that type of pressure. It’s definitely nerve racking.”

Tony Reid – Do you remember the first MMA event or NHB fight you ever saw?

Jimy Hettes – “I’ve watched so many but the one that really stuck out was Genki Sudo. I was a huge Genki Sudo fan. I used to watch him all the time and I still watch highlights from time to time and try to dance like he did.”

Tony Reid – How were you introduced to the sport of MMA?

Jimy Hettes – “Just like a lot of the youth in America I went to a very prestigious public school and we would always talk about fighting. One of the kids mentioned one day how this thing called Ultimate Fighting was on. We all went to his house and watched it. Then we did the thing the UFC tells every kid not to do. We went in the back yard and practiced fighting moves. That was how I got into the sport.”

Tony Reid – You mentioned Genki Sudo already but are there other fighters that inspired you as you were growing up?

Jimy Hettes – “I really like Fedor (Emelianenko) a lot. I like his demeanor. I try to emulate that demeanor a bit. I always liked Dan Henderson; I’m still a big fan of him. Everyone likes the old Wanderlei, he was just crazy. I was a big fan of PRIDE back in the day. I like the UFC, of course, but I could watch the same PRIDE event six times in a row. (Jimy breaks into a full on Don Frye imitation)Whenever you watch a PRIDE fight you would think that they just picked names out of a hat and one guy would just get his ass kicked. That was always fun to watch.”

Tony Reid – I have heard you guys in the gym tend to bust each others balls pretty regularly. Is there one story you could share with us?

Jimy Hettes – “Chris Liguori, the old school UFC fighter, is the biggest ball buster that has ever stepped on this earth. If there were belts he would be a blackbelt in ball busting. He usually starts it. I can’t think of any specific story off the top of my head but make it known that Chris Liguori is the ball buster.”

Tony Reid – So Chris is like the Royce Gracie of ball busting?

Jimy Hettes – “Oh, he is the Helio Gracie of ball busting.”

Tony Reid – Is there anyone outside the world of MMA that you would like to get in the cage and unleash a beating on?

Jimy Hettes – “There are a lot of actors and famous people that when I hear them open their mouth I just want to punch them in the face. There are too many to name by name. I won’t mention one person by name, you guys can use your imagination on that one.”

Tony Reid – You just want to call out Hollywood in general.

Jimy Hettes – “Yeah. You know when your home and the TV is on and you just hear someone give a horrible interview, the worst you have ever heard. I want to hit that person right there.”

Tony Reid – Best thing nobody knows about you?

Jimy Hettes – “For some reason I can play video games for ridiculously long amounts of time. If there was a videogame marathon I would be really good at that. If I could somehow get paid to do that I would quit MMA forever. Other than that just normal stuff like getting punched in the face every day.”

Tony Reid – Best advice you could give to a younger you?

Jimy Hettes – “Keep the course. I wake up every day happy. I surround myself with good people. Even the tedious activities we have fun with. I have made mistakes but I have had a lot of fun doing it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I would say just stay the course.”

Tony Reid – Best memory from your first fight?

Jimy Hettes – “It was over really quick. I want to say around a minute. I was so nervous in the back before the fight. I just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. I don’t think I got hit in the face, so that was a plus. My mom was happy with that. I didn’t have to get an earful for that. She still calls it karate in the cage, for the record. According to her I am a karate in the cage expert. She thinks I go visit Mr. Miyagi every day for practice.”

Tony Reid – Best way to get pumped before a fight?

Jimy Hettes – “There is no secret. There is no magic trick. The big thing is knowing that you have done everything you can beforehand. It’s just being confident. There will always be nerves. Looking back at your training camp just knowing you did everything right, then you feel great and you are excited to get in there and fight.”

Tony Reid – Best movie star character resemblance?

Jimy Hettes – “Jessie Eisenberg. The guy that played Mark Zuckerberg in the Facebook movie. I get that a lot.”

Tony Reid – Best lesson life has handed you?

Jimy Hettes – “The best lesson life has taught me is to roll with the punches. Literally and figuratively. You can plan everything out in life to a tee but there will always be certain variables you can’t plan for and you ae to take them as they come. I would say to just take every day as a lesson. Learn from it and have fun doing it.”

Tony Reid – What was the first video game system you remember having as a kid?

Jimy Hettes – “The old school Nintendo. We used to play Mike Tyson’s Punch Out all the time. I have still yet to beat that game. That is on my bucket list. Mike Tyson used to knock me out like crazy. That was the first time as a kid where I experienced true anger, to the point where I wanted to throw a controller.”

Tony Reid – Have you always been a gamer?

Jimy Hettes – “Yeah I have been. It goes back to when we were little kids. Our dad used to get us video games for Christmas. It always suddenly would be something he wanted to play. So we would open the present and six hours later we might get the chance to play the game.”

Tony Reid – What were some of your favorite games growing up?

Jimy Hettes – “I would say The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. I put more hours into that than anything.”

Tony Reid -Did you ever get into any sports games?

Jimy Hettes – “I used to play NBA Jam all the time. I liked that. I tried to play Madden but I am horrible at that, I’m not gonna lie. I tried playing online and people tell me I’m horrible. I tired playing with my friends and they beat me and talk trash. I thought about just throwing the game out and telling people I don’t have it anymore.

“Hey I just got to talk about video games in an interview. That has to be the best one I have done in a long time!”