This Saturday at the Plain Dealer Pavilion in Cleveland, one of the most promising local mixed martial arts fighter will be the main event on the NAAFS loaded fight card.
Undefeated "Smokin" Joe Heiland looks to keep his perfect record in tact as he will step into the cage and take on John Myer. The fight is right around the corner and TheClevelandFan's own Scott Swerbinsky had a chance to talk to the 2006 170 pound NAAFS National Champion. He trains locally with Team StrongStyle.
TCF: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me Joe. Can you give our fans a little bit of your athletic background? JH: I started wrestling in 6th grade and went to Baldwin-Wallace where I wrestled there for four years. My dad started teaching me the basics of boxing as a kid and I love to compete so it was something I truly enjoyed.
TCF: What made you get into mixed martial arts? JH: I trained with Jeff Cox at BW and once wrestling was over I needed something else to compete in. With my strong wrestling background and my knowledge of boxing, it was something I figured I'd be good at. Jeff trains at StrongStyle and has fought in the UFC. The sport kept growing and it just seemed like a perfect fit.
TCF: How long have you been training now in mma? JH: Going on 2 years now. I'm 25 years old and look to continue to get better every single day.
TCF: How many fights do you have under your belt? JH: I was 7-0 as an amatuer and 1-0 so far as a professional.
TCF: Your first pro fight was at Fight Night in the Flats III just recently correct? JH: June 9th I made my pro debut with a 2nd round TKO victory. 30 seconds into the round.
TCF: What kind of long term goal do you have in the sport of mma? JH: Anybody who competes, wants to be the best and that's what I want to do. I wanted to be a National Champion and accomplished that. Everyone knows the UFC and StrongStyle, where I train, has had 3 guys in the UFC and I'd love to get there one day. I'm still young but want to be a World Champion. I plan on doing this for a long time.
TCF: Are there any big differences not that your fighting as a professional compared to being an amatuer? JH: I treat it as a job now. My conditioning is more of a focus now also. I train four to five hours a day and six days a week which is pretty similar and I'm working more on my jiu jitsu and just look to improve my overall skills as much as possible.
TCF: Are you excited for the fight on Saturday? JH: I'm ready to go. This will be my biggest test of my career and plan on winning. I feel as long as I don't get caught in any funky situations, nobody can beat me.
TCF: I've seen you fight in the past and everyone has great things to say about you and your overall fight game. It was a pleasure talking to you and I look forward to another victory come Saturday at the Dan Bobish Classic downtown.