Hecht: Foster will return to the top
A frustrating enforced lay-off will come to an end for Brian Foster (15-5-0) in London this weekend, when he takes on Jack Mason (17-8-0) at Cage Warriors 44.
Foster hasn’t fought since defeating Matt Brown at UFC 123 last November, having been diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage earlier this year.
However, the 27-year-old Oklahoma native has now received clearance to return to action and he’ll do so at the HMV Forum in Kentish Town on Saturday night.
Having previously trained together with Marc Fiore’s Hit Squad in Missouri, 2-1-0 Cage Warriors veteran Jake Hecht is a close friend of Foster’s.
“I used to manage and train at a branch of American Top Team in Columbia, Missouri, which is about a two-hour drive to Hit Squad,” Hecht recalls.
“Fiore called me one day and asked if I’d help Foster prepare in his camp for his fight with Brock Larson (at UFC 106). Training twice a day at Hit Squad’s large, state-of-the-art facility, I was happy to go along.
“Foster and I hit it off right away and trained hard twice a day to prepare for what was his second appearance in the UFC. A month later, we were all in Vegas coaching Foster to a dominating upset win, in what people thought would be an easy fight for Larson.
“Soon after that training camp, I left my position at American Top Team to train full-time at Hit Squad with a number of UFC veterans.
“Foster and I have challenged each other almost every training session since then, me barely edging him out on the ground and him making me regret I was ever born when we have stand-up battles.”
Having been medically released from the UFC after his health scare in April, Foster’s aim is to return to the organisation - where he holds a 3-2 record - as soon as possible.
“Brian is always a positive person who takes any setback as just another challenge in his life,” explained Hecht. “At the start of the year he was on cloud nine, having come off that impressive win over Matt Brown.
“Some health issues have come up since then and held him back from continuing to climb up the UFC welterweight ladder, which I’m sure was frustrating.
“But Foster is the type of guy who’ll take the idle time and use it to develop his skills even further. He has become a more well-rounded fighter.
“He’s a seriously dangerous striker and now that he’s developed his ground skills, as well as perfecting some brutal slams, he’s really a force to be reckoned with.
“Foster is one of the most skilled welterweights in the world. He’s had a minor setback with his health and the UFC are playing it safe by having him get a few fights under his belt before they allow him back into the organisation.
“He’ll run through anyone who’s not of the highest calibre. He’ll be back there soon, showing the world that he only got stronger during his absence.”
On a personal level, Hecht (10-2-0) hasn’t fought since June after sustaining a broken hand during his win over Michele Verginelli at Cage Warriors Fight Night 1 in Amman, Jordan.
The 27-year-old, who’s currently head MMA coach at the Boxing Clinic in Cork, Ireland, said: “I’m not really sure what’s next for me right now. I just recently got over the broken hand I picked up during my last fight.
“I told myself that I wouldn’t fight for the rest of the year but the cage seems to be calling me back early. I’d love to fight for a middleweight Irish title but I don’t know if the current belt holder would step up to the challenge.
“Right now I’m focusing on coaching and trying to develop my boys at the Clinic to be ranked among the best in Ireland. If I can pencil in stealing someone’s belt along the way, I’d be okay with that.”
Brian Foster v Jack Mason co-headlines Cage Warriors 44 at the HMV Forum in Kentish Town, London this Saturday night, October 1. Get your tickets HERE.
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