When it comes to his 2016, middleweight up-and-comer Ian Heinisch wasn’t as active as he would have liked, but overall he feels like it was a productive year.
Most importantly to Heinisch, it was his development that mattered in 2016 more so than the amount of fights he was able to have.
“I had a little bit of a setback fighting with Combate Americas; I got shelved for six months, and I probably would have been out in the LFA and most likely already been in the UFC, but everything happens for a reason,” Heinisch told MMAWeekly.com.
“It’s given me more time to grow as a person and a mixed martial artist. Overall it was a great year and I’m excited for this year to be even better.”
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In particular, Heinisch is most pleased with his maturation and the way he’s been able to adapt to the pro game over the past couple of years.
“Overall I’m more comfortable on my feet,” said Heinisch. “My ground and pound is stronger. I’m not trying to force submissions. I’m pretty much hitting (my opponents) so much that they’re trying to get a way out and give me a submission.
“I’ve developed a lot more skills and feel a lot more calm in the cage. Now I’m looking for more finishes, and I’ve had a lot of time to grow this past year.”
Heinisch (7-0) will make his Legacy Fighting Alliance debut on Friday in Broomfield, Colo., when he takes on veteran Lucas Rota (12-6) in a main card 185-pound bout at LFA 5.
“He’s been around a while and has experience,” Heinisch said of Rota. “I’m excited to challenge myself. I don’t know if he’s going to be the guy that puts me to the test, but either way I’m ready and am prepared for war.
“I don’t know what round, but I see a finish happening. I think anywhere this fight goes, I’m better than him. He’s kind of on his way out, and I’m on the way up, so I think I’ll help him make that decision of calling it a career.”
Heinisch feels now he has the opportunity to make a case for himself to jump to the next level, and feels that could very well happen for him in 2017.
“I would say one fight, maybe two in the LFA, and then I should be getting that call (to the UFC),” said Heinisch. “I’m staying ready. There’s no off season for me. I’ll take a week or two off after a fight, and then all I’m doing is training.
“I’m ready for that short notice call. My weight is always the same. So if that short notice call comes, I’ll be ready.”
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