After 14 straight victories including a win over Diego Sanchez, the world knew UFC welterweight John Hathaway was destined for big things.
After beginning his career with a perfect 14-0 record, Hathaway would suffer the first loss of his career to Mike Pyle at UFC 120. Nonetheless, Hathaway would bounce back in fashion, by defeating Kris McCray via split decision in his next bout.
But something happened after the McCray bout.
Hathaway vanished from competition.
After fighting three times in 2006, four times in '07 and three times each in '08 and '09, Hathaway has fought just three times in nearly two years.
In fact, it's been over 13 months since we've last seen him.
The missing man has been found, as the England product recently sat down with Bleacher Report to discuss his absence and upcoming bout with Pascal Krauss at UFC on FOX 3.
Garrett Derr: I understand you played rugby before entering the world of MMA. Has your experience in that sport helped contribute to your success inside the Octagon?
John Hathaway: I had always been a physically tough kid and had played lots of rugby to a high standard. So the physicality of the sport didn't bother me at all. I first got into MMA after watching the UFC when I was 17 years old. I loved it and my brothers and I started play fighting and attempting MMA. After a few scraps around the house, I headed down to my local MMA gym called ZT Fight Skool in Brighton and gave it a try.
I trained at ZT for my first 10 fights, under Sol Gilbert. After that, I made the move to London Shootfighters and the head coaches there Alexis Demetriades and Paul Ivens have been coaching me for all of my UFC fights.
GD: You have kind of fallen off the map since we haven't seen you for over a year. Where have you been?
JH: I've not really disappeared, it's more a case that I had to withdraw from my proposed fight on the UFC 138 card in Birmingham last year because of an illness. That wiped me out for a while but now I am absolutely great.
Honestly right now, I feel fantastic. I genuinely think this is the best shape and form I have ever been in. I'm healthy and I cannot wait for this fight.
GD: Well, we're happy you're back and you'll be taking on Pascal Krauss at UFC on FOX 3. What do you know about Krauss considering he's a fairly new fighter in the UFC?
JH: I know that Pascal is a tough guy and a well-rounded fighter. It seems like his background in the sport has been as a complete MMA fighter rather than a specialist in any one area. I imagine he is going to be comfortable with wherever the fight takes place.
I know that from what I have read recently about those people that work with him. They think he is very tough. But at the same time, I feel like I have an advantage in every area of the fight. If I didn't feel that way, then I wouldn't have prepared properly.
GD: So how can we expect you to win in your first fight back in a year?
JH: How will I win? Hmmm. Well, you know that move that Spock does in Star Trek? I think I'm going to try that. [laughing]
GD: I know you've picked your walk-out music for this fight already and you're keeping it a secret. Any chance you can give us the inside to what it will be?
JH: The music is top secret. I'm afraid to say. [laughing]
GD: What's been the most memorable moment of your career so far? How has it changed you?
JH: It has to be the win over Diego Sanchez. It was a real step up for me and it really helped me jump up the rankings. The fight just went very much like what I had planned.
I am sure that as long as I keep beating fighters like him and the ones the UFC puts in front of me, then it is only a matter of time before I get a title shot. One day I will become champion. I'm patient and I'll take it one fight at a time. But I plan on winning.
GD: In closing, who would you like to thank?
JH: I'd like to thank my teammates and coaches at London Shootfighters. The whole team there is fantastic. I'd also like to thank D.D. Deane at Physiques Nutrition for helping me with my diet and weight cut, CNP Professional for the supplements that they provide me with and finally RYU clothing for sponsoring my walk-out clothing.
Also thanks to my fans and supporters and the readers of Bleacher Report.
For additional information, follow Garrett Derr on Twitter.