LFA 63 was supposed to be the night that made Jake Heffernan’s dreams come true. “The Grinder” was in the co-main event against a fellow undefeated fighter and Dana White was in the audience filming his show “Dana White Lookin’ For a Fight.” However, in the locker room, instead of celebrating earning a UFC contract, Jake Heffernan had to be told he lost the fight by knockout later on in the evening and learn his opponent earned the contract he was so sure was going to be his.
“In the fight I started well, I was establishing my jab, I was landing. I remember in the fight, a specific memory I have is that I threw a jab, jab cross and I saw his nose get a small little split in it and I remember telling myself, I’m going to be able to knock this dude out. From there it’s kind of a blank. I don’t remember wrestling the ref or them announcing he won by knockout. All I remember is a couple of combos, throwing a front kick that I think landed on his arm pit and then I woke up in the back and I was like “what happened guys?” And my coaches were like you got “f***king clipped and the guy followed up correctly, you got knocked out.”
Heading into the fight, Heffernan was loud in his proclamations that he was the better fighter and now when he gets his turn to fight in the UFC, he’d like the rematch. However, he wants to give credit to where credit is due and March 29 was Gabriel Silva’s night.
“Going into the fight, I definitely felt I was the better fighter. I still believe that I am. Honestly once I get in the UFC, I’d love to call Gabriel out and let’s run it back one more time. I think he knows too, the way the fight started, if I could get a full round with him, I think I would box that dude up, take him down and beat him up pretty bad. Not to take away from his knockout, honestly, he caught me with a good punch and it wasn’t the punch that was beautiful, it was his follow up, he kept his distance, he landed the right shots and he finished the fight. I honestly don’t take anything from the guy’s performance that night, he did what he was supposed to do.”
After the bout, Heffernan destroyed the candy that was in his house but more importantly, he celebrated the birth of his daughter which reinvigorated him.
“As soon as my baby girl was born, the concept of “I’m blah blah” wasn’t even a thing. I was just so excited to have that. I have an amazing family who fully supports my MMA career. My wife does all my nutrition and makes sure I’m eating right. It’s definitely my family. My wife especially, she called me right after and she was like “you didn’t really make any mistakes, your hands were up and the just threw a punch through your guard and you got caught. It wasn’t even a bad knockout, you wrestled the ref right away! We were able to make fun of it, she was there from day one. Definitely she was the one that brought me to reality and my kids made me understand I do this for them.”
Heading into the bout, Heffernan was undefeated and dealt with the usual hype, now, all he has to do is relax and not worry about defending his record.
“There is always that “I don’t want this guy to take my undefeated record” you always have that in the back of your head. I’m sure when I’m in the UFC I’m going to want to be undefeated in the UFC and make a run for as long as possible without getting beaten. It’s just one of those things where you’re always protecting that undefeated status. For as now, all I have to do is go out there, perform, do what I love and of course never let a loss happen again.”
Heffernan will look to start a new streak as he enters the cage on short notice against Paris Stanford at LFA 72 on July 26 in Arizona where Heffernan was born and most of his family still lives. Though he will not do it under the Fortis MMA banner like he planned to originally. Because of the short notice nature of the bout, Heffernan wasn’t able to get permission from Fortis head coach Sayif Saud. However, he did get permission to train there whenever he would like and expects to be a part of the team in the future.
But for now, Jake Heffernan is purely focused on using his resources to get past Stanford who is a jiu jitsu black belt. That excites Heffernan and it doesn’t concern him at all.
“The fact that he is a black belt excites me because I haven’t fought a black belt yet. I’ve fought world class wrestlers, I’ve fought world class strikers but I haven’t fought a world class jiu jitsu guy, so I’m excited to see how I fair against a guy who probably considers himself as good a grappler as me. Funny thing is it’s not a jiu jitsu match, it’s an MMA fight. And if there’s one thing I consider myself to be its an advanced MMA grappler, if they gave belts for MMA grappling I feel like I’d already be a black belt. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what this dude has on the ground.”
“I am a grappler at the end of the day, they call me the grinder because I grind guys against the cage, I take them down, I beat them to dust till there is nothing left and I strayed away from that last camp and which was a mistake I think and my coaches agree with me.”
Heading into his upcoming fight, Heffernan believes the strategy that brought him to the dance will get him the victory.
“Box him up, take him down, beat him up, let him up, box him up, take him down, beat him up and then finish him. I think I’ll have it done in the first.”