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Pandemic or prison, UFC 250’s Ian Heinisch knows adversity

Ian Heinisch speaks with MyMMANews

Ian Heinish’s move to Tiger Muay Thai is starting out differently than he first anticipated.

After making the move from Colorado to Thailand this year, Heinisch is back in the United States due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of training within a room full of 60 wrestlers, half of them being from Dagestan, Heinisch found himself sparring in parks around Denver.

It’s all in preparation to fight Gerald Meerschaert at UFC 250 on June 6. Having already left his former gym, Factory X, while being unable to train in Thailand during the pandemic, Heinisch adjusted on the fly. 

“Life throws curveballs at you man and sometimes you just have to go with it,” Heinisch said. 

“I’m no stranger to adversity, I just trust the process and what God has for me. I’ve been just trying to focus on getting locked in with the right people, getting the training I need and getting the right fight. It all seemed to work out.”

Rolling with the punches

Prison is some of the adversity Heinisch is talking about. Heinisch was arrested at a Walmart parking lot in Denver for dealing ecstasy at 19 years old. 

While out on bail, he fled the country to avoid jail time. In a series of events, he had little money and sometimes slept on beaches in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. 

He was later sent to a nearby prison after being arrested for smuggling cocaine. From there, Heinisch was transferred to a prison in Leon, Spain. After being released and returning to the United States, he was detained at the airport upon arrival and sent to Rikers Island in New York.

No matter where he was in the five years while fleeing the country, Heinisch found ways to train. He ran on beaches and lifted weights in parks. While in prison, he trained in Lucha Canaria wrestling and kickboxing.

Once Heinisch became a free man in Colorado, he worked at a gym. Training in unlikely circumstances is second nature for the 31-year-old. 

The current pandemic brought limitations Heinisch is somewhat familiar with. He knew how to train by himself, but wanted more.

You never know, anytime you’re locked in somewhere, you can always make it happen. You can either go crazy and get in your head or you can just focus on what you can control and that’s keeping your mind, body and spirit in shape,” Heinisch said. “I was concerned, I needed a partner, I needed a coach and I needed mats. I did what I could when I didn’t have that, but then I found it, so then I’m good now.”

Not settling

Whether he’s in Thailand or not, Tiger Muay Thai is in Heinisch’s new home. After getting married and buying a house in Colorado, Heinisch was settling down. That’s not his style and he knew it. 

Ian Heinisch followed a similar routine in Denver. He would sit in traffic, go to strength and conditioning, eat in his car,  go home, take a nap and go back to the gym.

Along with suffering back-to-back losses inside the octagon, Heinisch decided to move to Thailand. 

“I fell in love with it man. It’s cheap, it’s beautiful and the training is outstanding, so I was ready to switch things up,” Heinisch said. “I just felt like God was calling me out to Thailand, he has some amazing things in store out there. “

Heinisch experienced a much different lifestyle in Thailand. Living just five minutes down the road from Tiger Muay Thai, Heinisch drove his moped with no shirt on. On the weekends, Heinisch visited the beach and went snorkeling in the ocean. 

“I mean it’s like I’m on vacation and I’m training, but on my day off, I get to get that reset that I need.” Heinisch said. “I just use my time off to really take advantage of that reset of clearing my mind, going to nature and connecting with God, going back to the gym fired up, pumped and ready to learn and ready to go.”

Watching the time

In the time he spent training in Thailand, “The Hurricane” improved on his wrestling, getting back to the basics and fundamentals.

Heinisch is waiting for the pandemic to subside before he returns to Thailand. The pandemic is not the mix up he had in mind.

Ian Heinisch is making the best of the situation, while looking forward to getting a full camp in Thailand when the time comes.

“I needed some chaos in my life, mixing things up, not just routine based in my life,” Heinisch said. “I feel you’re going to see a new Hurricane come June 6.”

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