Heinisch Aims To Relive Past during Fight Week

UFC News

Heinisch would eventually start taking that advice he wished his younger self would have, and at least some of that advice came from Factory X coach Marc Montoya.

“He took me in like family. He’s a mentor to me. I’ve just learned so much from him. He lives everything out that he speaks. That’s just super important to me.”

The chemistry with Montoya proved instrumental in helping Heinisch corral his off the mat distractions, but also bore fruit with a championship in LFA, and a performance on Dana White’s Contender Series that led to a UFC contract and his ranking among the middleweight elite.

For his part, Montoya wasn’t always convinced that Heinisch was ready to leave the past behind. But he pinpoints the moment that everything changed.

“When Ian lost that first LFA title fight against Markus Perez is when he really had to dig deep,” Montoya explains. 

“I always say, fighting doesn’t build character, it reveals it. I really believe that, especially in a loss. So when he lost the LFA belt and the opportunity to go the UFC, it really revealed his character and he got all of his ducks in a row. I saw a kid that was different and hungry, and like, ‘Man, you’re not taking this from me.’ His freedom was taken from him because of choices. So he went out and changed a lot of things, which is not easy to do as a kid in your late twenties. Not easy for any of us. He put the work in, and really started growing on the mat more than I’d ever seen, and he’s had an amazing first part of his career in the UFC. We’re totally in the infancy stages with Ian. He’s still growing.”

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