Everyone has a bucket list.
For UFC welterweight Jake Hecht (11-2), his includes fighting on every continent in the world.
"A goal of mine is to fight on every continent other than Antarctica," Hecht told Bleacher Report. "When my coach asked where I wanted to fight next, Australia was one place at the top of the list and it just happened to work out for me."
So far, so good for the unbeaten welterweight since joining the UFC during the home stretch of 2011.
Hecht has fought in North America, Europe, Asia, and now Australia leaving just South America and Africa yet to accomplish.
When Hecht takes the Octagon in his preliminary bout against TJ Waldburger (14-6) on March 2 at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, he'll enter with greatly improved Jiu-Jitsu skills to defend against his opponent's world-class submissions.
"Given TJ's skills on the ground, that's a concern of mine. I feel like I still have the advantage wrestling, though, and also with my stand-up. I also feel like I have the upper hand in the mental game," said Hecht.
"I have been working a lot with my BJJ coach, Kyle Watson, at just staying calm and working through any submission attempts and using my position to my advantage. I would like to say I'll get him in a first-round knockout," said Hecht. "Obviously I can't predict exactly how the fight will play out, but I do feel I have the better overall game and that I'm the stronger competitor."
A win over Waldburger would certainly be the most meaningful of Hecht's career, but according to the 28-year-old St. Louis product, he's already accomplished his goal.
"My goal from the beginning of my MMA career was to fight in the UFC, so when I look back I think my fondest memory will be that I met that goal," said Hecht. "Hopefully, I have inspired some guys to try the sport or even just to keep working for what they want."
"I worked hard for years to get to where I am, so if I can instill that kind of self-motivation and faith in someone that I see at the gym or coach, that would be a big accomplishment for me," said Hecht.
With a lot still left in the tank, who knows what Hecht's future could hold?
However, like many great fighters, Hecht recognizes his success is a mere product of those who've assisted him throughout his journey to the UFC.
While Hecht, also known as "The Hitman," has received an enormous amount of help over the course of his career, he pinpoints a few specific names that continue to push him day in and day out.
"Marc Fiore and Kyle Watson have always being willing to go the extra mile for me and have traveled around the world to be in my corner. I could go on and on, but my girlfriend Natalie has also been a great support system for me," said Hecht.
"As far as the sport itself goes, a big thanks to Rival Boxing MMA."
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