Hawn, who was also a tournament finalist at welterweight in Season Four, opted to drop down in weight after his loss to Jay Hieron last year, has made the most of the change despite his initial trepidations.
Hawn, who trains in Montreal at the famous Tristar gym under coach Firas Zahabi, had to get talked into dropping down to 155-lbs by his coach, thinking that it wasn’t possible for him to make that weight.
So far he’s shown himself to be a very dangerous fighter at lightweight, with two knockout finishes and one decision victory to earn the Season Six crown.
Speaking to MMAMania.com, Hawn talked about the move to lightweight as well as his upcoming title fight with the Bellator champ this summer.
Did the disappointment from last year’s tournament and how that all went down motivate you in the lightweight tournament this year?
Rick Hawn: Definitely. I didn’t move down to lightweight because I lost. It was just basically to make better use of my size and my body type. It was definitely motivation for this year. I really wanted to make it back to the finals and make up for that loss and I was able to do it. It’s been a great year. My coach Firas Zahabi had to talk me into coming down to lightweight. I wasn’t keen to do it or even thought it was possible, but it was definitely a great decision.
This being your first time ever dropping down to lightweight, was it difficult having to make the cut three times in three months for the tournament?
Rick Hawn: Well not having a practice cut before the first fight was a little scary but I came in and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be for the first fight. Coming around the second fight, it was very difficult. That one was really bad so going into the third fight, we decided to get me down a little lighter so it’d be an easier cut just because it’s so tough to make those cuts every four weeks. The last cut was very easy.
You’ve got Michael Chandler assuming at the end of the summer series or the beginning of the seventh season. He’s a terrific wrestler but something I’ve seen is that judo players have the best balance of any fighters in mixed martial arts. Do you think that’s going to really help you out in countering his wrestling attack?
Rick Hawn: I think so. I think it’s a really great match-up. I’ve never fought a good wrestler as he is so I’m interested to see how it’s gonna play out. Obviously I’m gonna train a lot of wrestling for his style but I think with my background, it gives me a good advantage with him as opposed to a lot of other fighters he’s fought.