Thursday, September 8, 2011

John Hawk Interview

John Hawk is one of Ohio's most popular fighters, in part because of his style and never being in a boring fight. On September 24th he gets a chance to show more people why he is so popular as he makes his Bellator debut against Allan Weikert. As someone who sees John train on a regular basis, I can attest to his hard work ethic and desire to continue improving. His plan is to put on an impressive performance and earn a shot into Bellator's next 205 pound tournament.

Q: First, can you talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: I wrestled at Kent State University and after I got done, I had nothing else to do and still had a competitive edge in me. So I started with Jiu-Jitsu, and watching the UFC, after a couple years of winning all the tournaments, the NAGA's and all, I decided to pick up kick boxing with Ryan Madigan at Jungle MMA, which is now basically Evolve. I started there, and was at Evolve for about a year and now I am at Strong Style.

Q: Your last fight you lost a close decision to Dan Spohn for the NAAFS Light Heavyweight title, in a decision that could have gone either way. How frustrating was that?
A: It's very frustrating. Dan is a good guy, but you know what, people can call me cocky, call me a poor loser, or whatever you want to. He lost that fight, I controlled the fight, I controlled him, pushed him, controlled the center of the ring, I pushed the action, didn't back up one time. To me, most times judges are retarded, they have no clue what they are looking at. Call me a hater, call me whatever you want, but this ain't the first time the judges went against me. Maybe because of my look, cause I am not a super bodybuilder with a super physique like some of these guys. At the same time, I put more effort and more training in than anyone. It's frustrating because this is my lively-hood. I am one of the best 205 pounders out there, I don't care what anyone wants to say. You can throw any light heavyweight in the country in there and I will stand and bang, and either win or at least make it a great fight. I am not a boring fighter. Granted, everyone says don't leave it to the judges, but at the same time, sometimes you can't knock a guy out. For myself, I have a concrete forehead and so you are gonna have to take me to a decision or tap me out. So for me its frustrating because, when you can't knock a guy out, half the judges don't know what they are looking at. They should have an MMA background, at least have had a handful of fights to be considered a judge.

Q: You were supposed to fight at Rock-N-Rumble, but your opponent backed out late. How frustrating was that?
A: Its very frustrating because we put all this time and effort into training. I cut 30 pounds for each fight and it is frustrating cause you peak your body to be in shape. It's the first time it's happened to me as a pro, but it happened lots as an amateur. At the same time, things happen for a reason and now I get my foot into Bellator.

Q: What was that roller coaster like? Being upset he backed out but then getting a big opportunity with Bellator?
A: It's great because before all these me and Marcus sat down and he wanted me to take time off, bench me to relax. I am a full time fighter. I take less than a week off of training. if he would let me I would be back the Monday after a fight. The roller coaster was crazy, the high and low of feeling that. Going from "Oh my God I am not fighting now, what am I gonna do?" Because I am a full time fighter, I do need a paycheck to continue living. But a few days later, Bellator called, and it was a blessing in disguise and I wanna make the most of it.

Q: On September 24th for Bellator you fight Allan Weikert, what do you know about him?
A: I know he has decent stand-up, he is a decent wrestler. My teammate Chris Lozano knocked him out a couple years ago at Night of Champions. I haven't looked him up that much so I haven't seen what he's done lately. He is a shorter fighter and I hope he is prepared because I am ready to take him out.

Q: You think he will be willing to stand with you?
A: You know what? I hope so, I mean I am good on the ground, but if he wants to stand and bang, my whole thing is he tried to do that with Chris Lozano and look what happened to him. So if he wants to do that with me I am more than willing, but at the same time I am just as good on the ground, so he is welcome to take it there to.

Q: You have a good ground game, but you are known for standing and banging, do you feel your ground game is kind of over looked?
A: Earlier in my career they called it the John Hawk ground and pound cause I could take people down and pummel the crap out of them. Yeah I guess so, cause my whole thing is, if someone takes me down, even if I cant submit you, I can hold you and control you, it may not score points but if the ref is smart it will be stood up in 20 seconds. I am good on my back and if I am on top I am better with elbows, ground and pound and everything. It's over looked, but its MMA, so I am willing to go wherever the fight leads me.

Q: Does having so many teammates who have fought on a big stage like Bellator benefit you?
A: Yeah for sure. It's the quality of opponents, with Stipe Miocic, Forrest Petz, Brian Rogers, Chris Lozano, Nick Duell, the list goes on and on and on. Some people say "I need to go across the country to train with these guys." I don't need to, I have the best partners right at Strong Style, no reason to go anywhere else because these guys are veterans at what they do, we are family and push each other. That's what makes Strong Style so good.

Q: With this fight, whats they key to winning?
A: They key for me is pressure, punches in bunches. A lot of people see me and I am aggressive and push the action. This time I got great cardio, everything is out the window for this fight. I am gonna go out there and be a banshee, throwing knees, elbows, everything trying to finish him.

Q: How does it end?
A: Knockout first round.

Q: Is the goal then to impress the Bellator people and maybe get into the 205 tournament?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. I wanna make a statement and afterwords I am gonna look at Bjorn (Rebney) the owner of Bellator and tell him I am one of the 205 light heavyweight fighters in the country and want to be in that tournament.

Q: With you and Jessica Eye both fighting on this card, you will have great crowd support, does that help you or do you not notice when you are fighting?
A: You know what? It's good I guess because I kinda notice it but don't really notice it, cause I am there, I am in the zone and I don't hear much. But its good knowing I will have fan support and a lot of family around to keep me grounded and motivated.

Q: Assuming you win, you know what you want next or just focused on this?
A: Just focus on this now Jason, cause this is my big foot in the door. This is the first big opportunity i have had and I want to make it count, cause once my foot is in the door I am making it stay. After this fight I would love to be in the tournament and go from there.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Yeah Marcus Marinelli, Pablo Castro, all my coaches at Strong Style, Stipe Miocic, Brian Rogers, Nick Duell, Forrest Petz, all my training partners. My sponsors, John P. Lennon, Intimidation Clothing, Hex Linc, AKI Fight Gear, Cal Crowell, the best Strength and Conditioning coach there is, True Assassin fight gear, they have been amazing to me, he works hard, helps fighters, and I love to help them, Fitness 19 where I work. Me and Jessica Eye have an after party at the Barley House in Akron, so come celebrate after our victories September 24th.

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