All three of Jake Heun’s losses have come by submission. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
If the name Jake Heun sounds familiar, it is probably because he appeared twice on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. His ability to put forth entertaining performances earned him those chances, even though he succumbed to armbars in elimination fights he was winning, first to Adam Cella on Season 17 and again to Todd Monaghan on Season 19.
Nicknamed “The Honey Bear,” Heun will put his skills on display when he faces Blackzilians representative Kendrick Miree in his World Series of Fighting debut at WSOF 11 on Saturday at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. The 26-year-old American Top Team member does not expect Miree to cause him problems in their preliminary light heavyweight match.
“I’ve seen one fight on him, his most recent; the kid’s athletic,” Heun told Sherdog.com. “It looked like he wanted to stand up, and I actually think he won his last fight, but if he wants to try the submission game on the ground, he’s more than welcome to; it’s fine. I’m not worried about it, but my favorite submission is punching in the face, so if you’re trying to submit me, you’re going to be in line for that. It’s 2014. Royce Gracie’s not fighting anymore. We’re all mixed martial artists. If he wants to stand, I welcome that. I respect the kid, for sure, but anywhere the fight goes, I’m going to be ready.”
Heun wrestled in high school before focusing on football, those abilities leading him to the University of Hawaii. After an injury, he started to consider MMA and later met Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Chris Leben.
“I started doing wrestling and jiu-jitsu as a sort of rehab,” Heun said. “I decided to like to hit people in the face and didn’t want to get a real job. What can I do with a degree in European History anyway?”
After one amateur fight, which he won by technical knockout in less than a minute, Heun accepted his first professional bout and won by keylock submission in the second round. He then decided he needed to leave Hawaii to pursue MMA more vigorously. Heun moved to Utah, where he trained under respected mixed martial arts pioneer Jeremy Horn. Following his first appearance on “The Ultimate Fighter,” he made a change in management, which led him to American Top Team and a second opportunity on the reality show. One of “The Ultimate Fighter” coaches to whom Heun was introduced was Ali Abdelaziz, the matchmaker for the World Series of Fighting.
“He approached me saying they were interested in my fight style, that I have exciting fights,” Heun said. “No one can ever say about me that I have boring fights. I may not win ’em all, but I always put on a show. My [elimination] fight [on the show] actually was back in October, so for several months, I was in Austin, [Texas], waiting on contractual questions. When they released me, I signed up right away. I liked the fact that they got me on this card, [which is] being broadcast on NBC. They gave me an opportunity when I wasn’t even sure if I was going to keep fighting. I’m pretty happy with WSOF right now; they pay and treat their guys well.”
Heun concedes his submission defense has been lacking, so while he was awaiting word on his next move in Texas, he paid a visit to world-ranked middleweight Tim Kennedy.
“Even with the long layoff, I didn’t let my weight get over 230 [pounds]. I stayed in shape the whole time,” he said. “You train with Tim Kennedy, you’re going to stay in shape; the guy’s a goddamn cyborg.”
Once Heun signed his contract, he returned to American Top Team, where he continues his education in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
“I never wore a gi until after this last TUF,” he said. “Since I got back out here, we’ve had a big focus on my BJJ, not so much on the offense as the defense. Ricardo Laborio has been drilling into me to maintain my position.”