Bantamweight prospect Scott Heckman is getting close. With a pro record of 13-3, a Division 1 college wrestling background, a trio of fights in Bellator and a gig in the main event of tonight’s Cage Fury Fighting Championship in Valley Forge, PA, he’s getting close to breaking through to the next level. So why not get to know the AMA Fight Club standout and rising star a bit?
“My friend Matt Rizzo had invited me to a cage fight, and that’s when I got hooked,” he says of his entrance into the sport. “Just being around somebody that you know is fighting, that’s why I started training. I think it was literally… that show was a Friday night, I signed up Monday at a gym.”
For some, getting that first fight isn’t as easy as you might think. “Trying to get a fight with a Division 1 wrestling scholarship background was so hard,” he says. “Extremely hard. We had over 30 people back out. The first time I really thought I was going to fight, the guy weighed in with me – it was actually day-before weigh-ins, it was Virginia, an amateur fight. And the guy never showed up to fight. He weighed in, but didn’t show up to fight. But when I finally got my first fight it was awesome. It was one of the best adrenaline rushes, and I knew right there that was what I wanted to do for a living.”
Heckman is the first to admit that wrestling is his bread and butter, and of course it would be, having wrestled since kindergarten all the way through college. But he’s been working diligently on the finer points of throwing leather. “I’ve really been working on my stand-up for the last five months,” he says. “I have a really good boxing coach – [Lemuel] ‘Indio’ [Rodriguez]. I have a good Muay Thai coach – Kaensak [Sor Ploenjit] out of AMA Fight Club. They’re both amazing. They really have made me feel comfortable to stand on my feet and set up the things I do best, which are on the ground.”
What does Heckman do outside of MMA? “It’s all I do,” he says, and goes on to describe how MMA became his fulltime commitment. “I was in an old gym in the Philly area, Revolution Academy, and you know how you do things and they can only take you so far? That’s how this gym was. So the beginning of last year I set myself a goal, and said, ‘I’m going to stop working, take a leap of faith, and just train fulltime.’ I knew Charlie Brenneman, he was my wrestling coach in college, and I had several phone conversations with him about what I should do. He said, ‘If you’re serious and ready to make the transition, come to my gym and check it out.’ And I loved it.”
His goal in the sport? “To be a world champion,” he says. “I’m not doing it as a hobby.”