Interview with UK UFC Welterweight, John Hathaway

By Kris Mentor

For awhile, the British have been invading the MMA scene and many of our fighters have been making a name for themselves in the sport. Ever since top middleweight fighter Michael Bisping won TUF, there has been a steady progression. Along with Bisping, Dan Hardy, Terry Etim and Brad Pickett, a young welterweight fighter by the name of John Hathaway has emerged as one of the hottest prospects in MMA.

If many thought his fight against Diego Sanchez would be a walk in a park, then they were surely mistaken, as he proved his quality and takedown defence against the tough opponent. However, his upcoming fight against Mike Pyle will certainly be more a test for the young fighter as he looks to climb up the ranks of the Welterweight division.

Top MMA UK writer, Kris Mentor spoke to John Hathaway regarding his upcoming fight, who his favourite fighters are and what made him get into MMA.

Originally an open side flanker for your local rugby team, what interested you about the world of mixed martial arts?

I originally watched it on TV and was immediately hooked about the competition side of it.

Dan Hardy has been training in America with Eddie Bravo down at 10th planet, Michael Bisping trains with some of the bigger international names, do you think the gyms in England have enough resources for the fighters to keep up with the upper tier of MMA?

Yes I do, I think the coaches that we have in this Country are equally as good and it’s just finding the right sparring tactics to prepare you with the your upcoming fight.

You are coming off a win where the majority of fans saw you as the underdog. A lot of people thought that was a fight to ease Diego back into the division as it appeared with Nate Diaz. What was the game plan going into that fight and how well did you think you were able to execute it?

My game plan was to use my reach and footwork to get an advantage standing up and take him down when i could and cause damage on the ground. I didn’t feel like I executed the plan perfectly but I did well enough to win the fight.

Undefeated in your MMA career, you are arguably the biggest mma prospect to come out of the UK. With interviews on ESPN and high profile fighters, such as Miguel Torres, rating you as 1 of the top ten prospects in the sport; your media exposure is ever increasing. Do you feel pressure as the hype around you increases?

 I always put pressure on myself to compete well and perform but I don’t feel any extra pressure from the media coverage that I have been getting.

You’re scheduled to fight Mike Pyle in October at UFC 120. He’s replacing Judo expert Dong Hyun Kim. Is the change of opponent effected your training?

 No, we had to change a few minor things, but other than that the preparation is going along as well as we wanted it to.

The welterweight division is starting to get more interesting. The inevitable amount of smack talk from Koscheck to GSP over the next TUF season, Jon Fitch back in the mix, Martin Kampmann coming off an impressive victory as well as the introduction of Jake Shields in the division. Who do you see holding the belt at the end of 2010 and how many fights are you away from fighting for the title?

 I feel like i am at least 1 year to 2 years away from fighting for the title. There are too many good welterweights out there and the division is too competitive to predict something like that.

The UFC 120 card has been criticised by many of the hardcore fans by the lack of big profile fighters on the card and the overhaul of British names. What’s your opinion on the card and how excited are you to fight in your home country?

I’m very excited to fight in the UK and i think it’s a great thing that the card can be filled with so many great fighters.

The UFC by far has the biggest talent pool across all divisions. However talent outside the UFC is developing across the world in multiple organizations. Which fighter in particular have you been following that may have been an influence in you joining the sport?

People like BJ Penn and Nick Diaz are fighters i followed from the start and still do today.

Opinions are broad across this topic with the majority seeming to favour Anderson Silva or GSP. But other names such as BJ Penn and Fedor have also been thrown into the equation. From your understanding of the fight game, who do you believe is the pound for pound best fighter in the world?

Pound for Pound is so competitive and changes so much from month to month but at the moment i would say GSP just from the way his last couple of performances have gone.

Finally, your fight against Mike Pyle. Who’s going to win, what method and in what round

 I’m going to win, but what round and what method… you are going to have to wait and see on the night.

Hathaway faces Mike Pyle at UFC 120


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