Jake Heffernan is a featherweight prospect out of Cypress, Texas, holding an undefeated record of 6-0. Heffernan is scheduled to fight for Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) 43 on June 22 going up against 5-3 regional champion Peter Stanonik.
First of all, how did you get into MMA? Do you have any background in any other sports?
“So I started doing MMA when I was about 19 years old at a gym called Gracie Baja. I trained there for about 6 months before I met Alex Morono and moved to Gracie Baja The Woodlands after a year.”
Is MMA your full-time job or are you working somewhere else as well? If not, what did you do for work before MMA?
“My full-time job is doing mixed martial arts. I teach private lessons in the mornings to the afternoon and then I teach kids classes and adult kickboxing towards the night time before that I was a carpenter for 5 years and I also have worked for an oil company both places I am glad I’m not working anymore but it is nice to have the skills.”
Who gave you the nickname “The Grinder”? What is the reasoning behind it?
“My nickname actually comes from training with other professional fighters. One day my coach said train with Jake he’s our grinder he’ll take you down and beat you up. After that my wife said that we should just change my nickname to the grinder since it’s exactly how I fight.”
Who are you currently training with and how did you come across the camp? Also, who are some of your main training partners?
“I’m currently training with Alex Morono and Woodland MMA team as well as Team Texas which consists of a few gems from around the Houston area we get together for processions Fridays and Saturdays but during the week I do a heavy striking and conditioning and jiu-jitsu camp with Matt Wald and Alex Morono.”
How is the cut to 145? What is your favorite thing to eat before and after weight cut?
“I make a very professional cut. I start with plenty of time so I only have to cut a couple of pounds every day until I’m on weight and then I shoot back up with no issues and have an amazingly huge amount of energy for all my fights. Hydration is key what I like to do is drink for 3 hours after the cut and then do a rare steak, baked potato, and some carbs like pancakes then back to clean eating the day of like some chicken and salad and then chill for the fight with an empty stomach.”
What has been your favorite memory of your mma career so far?
“So far I have to say my favorite moment in my MMA career has been creating myself into such a hard fighter to deal with. Being that I am the grinder apart from that every time I mount a dude and throw elbows to his face is my favorite moment in MMA.”
What would be your favorite striking and grappling technique?
“My favorite striking technique is the spinning backfist and my favorite grappling technique is the Kimura ride system which is how I won my fight in Colorado against Derek Brenon.”
One dream fight, who would you square off with?
“Of course, my favorite fight dream would be to go against Conor McGregor so I can get that gigantic fight check apart from that I think it would be cool to also square off with Urijah Faber.”
What makes you a different fighter from everyone else?
“I think I’m a different fighter from all the others because my mentality is to keep the crowd entertained but also to fight smart. So no matter what I’m doing whether it’s pinning you to the cage or pinning you on the ground I’m punching you in the face keeping the crowd jumping out of their seats.”
Where are some locations you’d like to travel to and fight?
“I think it would be amazing to travel to Japan to fight also Ireland, Thailand, and New York City.”
Explain what a normal day is like in the life of Jake Heffernan?
“My days are pretty basic. I wake up at 4 in the morning to go hit a kickboxing private lesson with some of my clients then back home to hang out with my 14-month old for a few hours then a few more hours of private lessons and then kid classes and then adult kickboxing and along the way outfit and some strength conditioning and running during the day basically repeat that every day during camp otherwise slightly less training sessions out of camp (laughs).
Any bad injuries you suffered in your career?
“The worst career injury I’ve ever had was in my first pro fight. I picked the dude up over my head and slammed them on the ground and I busted a hernia. Thank God for that fight insurance cause I got it fixed about a week later.”
You’re set to fight Peter Stanonik. What do you think of him as an opponent and how do you predict this fight playing out?
“My next opponent is a good striker but you can’t just go into a fight with striking and I have striking, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai clinch, and wrestling. I’m going to use all these things to mentally break him and then finish him my Jiu-Jitsu to my stand up and maybe I will outshine his style.”
What are your goals for the rest of 2018?
“My goal for this year is to just make a stand-out to all the fans of Houston and hopefully the rest of America.
“A big shout-out goes to Fly God Productions, Vinnie Vincent real estate, Venum, Bayou City Tattoo Shop, G fuel energy supplement, loaded pistols fight apparel Houston Spine and Rehab and fights smart web design. All these sponsors give me the ability to train every day without having to worry about the bills I need to pay.”