Jimy Hettes is walking proof you don't have to look dangerous to be dangerous.
The 25-year-old doesn't come equipped with bulk, a mohawk or tattoos, but what he does possess is a slick set of skills which have created nightmares for his opposition thus far in his young career. He's carried his undefeated record on the regional circuit into the UFC and with two solid showings inside the Octagon, a buzz is starting to build.
Hettes made his debut in impressive fashion, submitting TUF alum Alex Caceres in Milwaukee then dishing out a proper drubbing to Nam Phan at UFC 141. During the bout with Phan, Hettes opened a brutally accurate ground-and-pound clinic throughout the fight and when the judge's scorecards were read (30-25, 30-25, 30-26), they were a proper reflection of the lopsided affair.
He was slated to return to the Octagon in June, but an injury forced him off the card. Hettes is now set to face Marcus Brimage this Saturday at UFC 152. "The Kid" is ready for battle and feels their difference in styles should create an interesting matchup.
"Stylistically, Brimage and I are complete polar opposites," Hettes said. "He likes to keep it standing and using his wrestling in reverse. I'm more of a grappler who uses his wrestling offensively. It should definitely be a great fight because you have two totally opposite styles clashing.
"Marcus has strong power in his hands. His footwork is good and he has solid defensive wrestling. When he does get taken down he is very good at getting back to his feet. This fight is going to be a testament to see if I can overcome his abilities.
"If fans want to see a great fight where two polar opposites are going at it then tune in. Marcus has a ton of muscle. I look like I'm 12 years old but we are going to go out there and put on a good show."
When it comes to fight night, Hettes makes no secret about wanting to take the action to the ground where he will look to implement a crafty submission game. Those skills are further highlighted by his particular fashion of ground and pound, which has been some of the best in recent memory.
"I think I have some kind of MMA ADHD," Hettes said. "I can't stay still for long. As much as I'd love to hold someone down and eek out a decision, I can't. I have to keep the hands going and get my opponent moving from position to position. I really try to keep a high pace.
"Ground and pound is my go-to thing. It's something we work on a lot at the gym. It's where I feel comfortable. When I get into a fight, a lot of times the game plan just goes out the window. When I'm able to get the fight to the ground where I can really open up, that is where I really feel at home."
In order to push himself to the next level, Hettes is willing to make sacrifices. When he's not training in Pennsylvania he is mixing it up in New Jersey with former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and BJJ ace Ricardo Almeida. While the workouts are intense, the light-hearted camaraderie between the fighters creates the perfect environment for Hettes to excel.
"Progress is a big key but I think a lot of fighters burn themselves out," Hettes said. "Training three times a day can not only wear your body out, but your spirit as well. At our gym we have fun. We bust each other's balls and we are always laughing. Those Jersey boys they have a different style. They make fun of me because they think I'm a redneck from PA. I don't always get their style but what are you going to do?
"It's great because we get in great training, but we have fun in the process. That makes you look forward to training the next day. It's not where you wake up and it's something you have to force yourself to do. Our training is fun and you want to be there. I'm getting more comfortable in my career. I'm learning to keep my anxiety down and making the cage my second home.
"Frankie is the man. It's a blessing to be able to work with someone of his caliber on a daily basis. It's a great thing to have. Now that Frankie [Edgar] dropped down to 145 pounds, I think he is going to beat Jose Aldo and become the new champion."
Hettes has all the makings to become a future star in the UFC and he takes the hectic world of professional fighting in stride. This is work to Hettes, and he knows the level in which he is currently competing will only get tougher the further up the ladder he goes. Hettes is excited for the future, and is thankful to everyone who has helped him out along the way.
"I would like to give a special thanks to everyone surrounding me this fight," Hettes said. "I'd also like to give a big thank you to my sponsors InstaLoans.CA, Smart Stop Self Storage, Punishment, Hayabusa, Microtech, MGR Construction and KOreps."