Heun ready to rumble (Mixed Martial Arts)

April 21, 2011

Now that his college football career is finished, former University of Hawaii standout Jake Heun of Anchorage can focus on the next chapter of his life.


The 6-foot-1, 230-pound heavyweight with the reputation for being a wild man on and off the field is back in Alaska for the first time in two years as part of Saturday night’s Arctic Challenge mixed martial arts fight card in Fairbanks.

“I’ve been training super hard,” Heun told me. “Definitely feeling good and ready to kick this dude’s ass.”

Confidence is the name of the game in the caged octagon, where a fight can be settled in seconds. The 23-year-old Alaskan won his MMA debut last summer with a first-round TKO over D.J. Poti in Honolulu.

Then he returned to school for his senior season during which he starred on the gridiron, playing linebacker and running back and scoring a touchdown on his final carry.

This will be his first fight in 10 months.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ve got a bunch of people coming up from Anchorage. I’ll be able to see my family. I haven’t seen them in a while.”

Heun has been training with the prestigious Chris Leben Fighting School in Honolulu. Leben is a UFC veteran and is scheduled to fight middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva in July.

Heun met Leben at a local bar and it didn’t take long before the conversation drifted toward MMA, specifically wrestling, drawing on Heun’s experience back in the day at Palmer High.

“It kinda went from there,” he said.

Before long they were sparring during a training drill, and Leben caught Heun with a devastating punch.

“It was as hard as I’ve been hit in football or anything. I was rattled,” he said with laugh. “When I left I called my old man and said, ‘I think I just figured out what I’m supposed to be doing.’

“If I can make it happen it would be a helluva way to live.”

The Arctic Challenge pits fighters from Hawaii against Alaskans, mostly from Fairbanks. Heun doesn’t know if he is being billed as a villain or if it’ll be a homecoming of sorts.

“I haven’t really paid attention to all that,” he said. “You know how promoters are. They are all dirt bags. They’re going to try and sell it however they think they can make the most money off it.”

One thing is for certain – he’s no outsider.

He still has a 907 cell number.