Win or Go ‘Back to Prison’

May 26, 2020

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Ian Heinisch finds his back against the wall as he heads into his UFC 250 showdown with Gerald Meerschaert on the first two-fight losing streak of his career. However, there may be no other competitor on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster better equipped for such a high-pressure situation. The middleweight’s history—including an extended stay behind bars—has been well documented, and Heinisch plans to pull from those past experiences and use them as motivation to get back into the win column on June 6 in Las Vegas.

“I felt in my second loss,” Heinisch told “I did bring a lot of pressure—like, ‘Hey, you can’t lose two in a row. You’ve got to keep this going, and losing one was all right because [Derek Brunson is] a Top 10 guy, but losing two in a row, you can’t do that.’ Now I feel like I’m at the point where my back’s against the wall, and I’ve been here before. I’ve been in way more high-pressure situations, and I’m going to do everything I can control to possibly win. I’m just going to go out there, perform and have fun. I’ve kind of brought this old motto [back] that I used to use earlier in my career, because I felt like earlier in my career, ‘If you don’t win, you’re going back to prison.’ When I say that to myself, something in my gut really stirs up, and it gives me that extra energy, so I’m going to use that mentality if I need it in this fight, if there’s a point where I just need to pull energy from somewhere else. I know that’s not a reality now, and obviously, I wouldn’t [go back to prison], but at the same time, it still brings up these feelings in my gut that have just stayed with me.”

In this exclusive interview, Heinisch discussed recent changes to his training, revealed why being based in Colorado has not been as beneficial as he hoped and unveiled his plans to eventually move to Thailand to train full-time.


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