Coming off the second win of his UFC career at UFC Rochester, middleweight Ian Heinisch is looking to the top ten of the division next.
Rochester, NY — With Neil Magny off of the UFC Rochester card, the promotion had to scramble to find a new co-main event. Vicente Luque, who had been set to tango with Magny, was paired up with newcomer Derrick Krantz, and moved further down the card. That created a big opportunity for Ian Heinisch, who moved into the penultimate slot at the event.
He made the most of it, picking up a win over dangerous Brazilian Antonio Carlos Junior. The convincing unanimous decision victory was Heinisch’s second in the UFC. He didn’t, however, expect it to go the distance, he told media members including Cageside Press following the fight.
“Honestly, I was expecting a first-round finish. But, he was just elusive. He got me in a bad position in the first round, but I’m no stranger to adversity,” Heinisch (12-1) recalled — while decked out in the best suit of the night. “I weathered the storm, and going into the second round, I felt like that was all he had. I let him wear himself out a little bit and I came out in the second thinking, ‘It’s my time now.'”
Explaining how he recognized the tide turning, Heinisch said that “I just felt like he gave me his best. And I was like, ‘Alright, that’s all you got, let’s do this.’ I just realized that he was on my back for basically the whole round. Even in the second, he was holding on to me a lot. I just had to turn up the volume a little bit, let him wear himself out, and just pick up the speed on him and I got the victory.”
“I just was having fun. This is so fun for me. I’ve been in situations where you’re in fights and there’s no one there to stop it and it’s not fair,” he continued. “So getting to do something that I love, the UFC taking such good care of me, me redeeming my life and God saving me, and just giving this message of hope for the people. That’s the message I want to give. I’ve just been having fun and it’s all surreal that this is coming to place but I’ve been visualizing this for a long time.”
Heinisch’s fight at UFC Rochester was notable on a personal level for the American. “This is the first time I got to fight in my country in the UFC. My last fight was in Argentina and England [before that].” The fight in England Heinisch referred to is a cancelled bout against Tom Breese, that fell through last minute due to health issues suffered by Breese. “It was just cool to be in my home country and feel the energy of the fans that support me, all the veterans, and everyone that represents this country and is patriotic, everyone getting behind me and chanting ‘USA.’ I knew I had to turn it up for them. I do it for more than just myself. It always gives me more energy than I think I have.”
Now 2-0 in the UFC, Heinisch is looking up — to the top ten of the middleweight division. “I think it’s going to get a number next to my name, hopefully by Monday. Then I’m looking for a top 10. Jack Hermansson man, he’s just killing it right now and I would love to get him.” While Hermansson might be out of reach, Heinisch also offered an alternative. “Derek Brunson’s coming off a big win, I would love to fight him. Either one of those guys come to mind but anyone in the top 10 will do. I want someone too that we can really get in a firefight, something really special for the fans. It’s just been me fighting off these jiu-jitsu guys and I know it’s not the most exciting fight, but I’m doing what I have to do to win.”
Why Brunson, though? Heinisch called him out in the cage as well, and he simply likes the match-up. “I just feel I can beat him. I’m believing it, and once I believe it, it seems to come true. I’m believing that right now, and just watching his last fight didn’t really impress me that much, and I would like to fight him.”
Watch the full UFC Rochester post-fight press scrum with Ian Heinisch above!