I remember the first time I met UFC fighter Jake “The Hitman” Hecht. The year was 1999 and we were both freshmen at Troy Buchanan High School in Troy, MO. I knew right away that Jake was someone this short, awkward kid would want to stay on the good side of. We were talking about playing hockey. I proudly talked about how I played roller hockey. Jake played ice hockey. He wasn’t pompous or anything about it, but I still figured that made him even more of a guy I wanted on my side. Jake would become a Golden Gloves Champion boxer and qualify for the State Wrestling Tournament while in high school. I became Student Council President.
Oddly enough, here’s a post from a yesteryear that mentions Jake Hecht winning his weight class at the Troy Wrestling Tournament. Don’t be too hard on me. I believe the year was 2000 and I was a sophomore in high school when I made that site. Oddly enough, that 171 is also the weight Jake weighed in at for his fight today.
We graduated high school together in 2002 and years later ended up at the University of Missouri-Columbia together. Jake had wrestled at Lindenwood University before transferring to Mizzou. He became involved with American Top Team MMA squad and happened to train with one of my fraternity brothers. By that time, Jake was considered one of the top trainers at the ATT gym.
I would follow Jake’s career from afar as he fought all over the world. I was there at International Tap House in Soulard to wish Jake and Natalie the best when they moved to Cork, Ireland when Jake took a position as an MMA coach. On Decemeber 10, 2011, I came home from iTap just long enough to watch Jake make his debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) at UFC 140 from Toronto.
For his first fight, he was put up against Rich Attonito on the undercard, which was aired exclusively on Facebook. I yelled at my computer in the first round when Jake was hanging on for the bell. I let out a sigh of relief when the bell sounded to end the first round. I cheered like he could hear me when the 2nd round started. When he connected on the elbow that would win him the match, I am sure half my block heard me. Here’s the video so that my reactions don’t seem so crazy.
Today, Jake goes for UFC win number two. He’ll fight T.J. Waldburger in Sydney, Australia. In Jake’s corner will be his good friend, Kyle Watson. Kyle owns Watson BJJ in Midtown. Here’s a pretty in-depth preview of the fight. While the card is being billed as the UFC on FX, Jake will be fighting in the prelims, which will be on Fuel TV starting at 5pm today. According to Jake himself, he will be the second fight of the night. If you question whether you get Fuel TV or not, check here. If you don’t get Fuel, the nearest establishment with alcohol and televisions should.
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Featured image courtesy of: Cork Independent