Saturday, 23 June 2012 00:23

Signed, sealed, delivered: Hawn proves he's real deal Dracut's Rick Hawn wins tourney, title shot up next Featured

Written by  Mike McMahon
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Shuffling through the airport in New Orleans to catch a flight back to Boston last month, Dracut's Rick Hawn, fresh off his Bellator tournament win, dragged his gigantic $100,000 check through security and on to his flight. As he expected, there were some strange looks from fellow passengers, likely wondering who this 5-foot-9 guy with a shaved head, beard and a giant check was walking onto their plane.

If things keep going they way they have been for Hawn, soon enough, everyone will know who he is .Last season, Hawn dropped the Season Four Welterweight Tournament final to Jay Hieron (22-5) in a controversial split decision. The loss remains the only blemish on Hawn's sparkling 14-1 record. After moving from 170 to 155 pounds this season, he stormed through the Season Six Lightweight Tournament, obliterating Ricardo Tirloni (14-2) in the quarterfinals and putting Lloyd Woodard (12-2) to sleep with punches in the semifinal, setting up a unanimous decision win over Brent Weedman (20-8-1) in the final, earning him a $100,000 payday and a shot at Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler.


That fight will likely happen next year, in a prime time main-event spot on Spike TV. "It's still being negotiated," said Hawn, who is now taking a mini-break before he gets back into heavy training in a few weeks. "Right now, I'm just relaxing. I've been training and fighting, non-stop, for really over a year so I'm giving my body a little bit of a break. When we get the details worked out, whenever it is, I'll be ready to fight." The break, though, is well deserved.


Dropping in weight classes for this tournament meant a never-before-seen weight cut for Hawn, a 2004 Olympian in Judo. "It takes a toll on you," he said. "Especially where this was the first time I was doing it. Luckily, I have a really good team around me with trainers and nutritionists to make sure I was doing it the right way and maximizing what I could get out of my body." Hawn, who has a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Brazilian Jio Jitsu, trained with Methuen's Jimmy Pedro following the 2004 Olympics, moving here from his home in Oregon to train with the bronze medalist. After taking up MMA in 2008, he's trained with Tristar Gym, Team Sityodtong and Team Renzo Gracie NH. To win the tournament, Hawn fought three times in two months, a ridiculously ambitious pace.


"It wasn't just the fights," — Hawn knocked out his first two opponents in a combined 7:46 of cage time — "it was cutting weight so often that was probably the toughest part for me. Ultimately (fighting in last year's tournament) really helped me, I knew what to expect and had a strategy going in on how I was going to handle the fights so close together." While training for the Bellator tournament, Hawn spent time at Tristar Gym in Montreal, the home of UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre as well as several of the world's best fighters. "It's one of the best places in the world to go train," Hawn said. "I learn a lot every time I'm up there. You always have to learn something new or get better. That's what separates guys, the guys that just keep getting better all the time." For now, Hawn's focused on watching his Judo teammates prep for the summer Olympics in London and getting back into the gym, readying for a title shot against Chandler.


As for that giant check, well, that might end up hung on the wall. The real one though, "that's in the bank," Hawn said, "I'm saving that."


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