Jared Hamman is set to make his return to the Octagon on August 14 at UFC on Versus 5. That night, Hamman will be making his welterweight debut when he takes on C.B. Dollaway.
In his last fight, Hamman lost a highly entertaining decision against Kyle Kingsbury which earned both fighters Fight of the Night honors. In fact, Hamman has earned those honors in his last two appearances inside the Octagon.
The former defensive end at the University of Redlands, teacher and football coach never really planned on beginning a mixed martial arts career. He actually stumbled upon it after his first year of coaching.
"I was 22 years old and just got done coaching the season," Hamman recently told Bleacher Report. "A friend of mine came up to me and said 'Hey, I'm doing this fighting stuff. you should come check it out.'
"After the season was over, I was ready to do something athletically. So when my friend came up to me and asked me, I said 'absolutely.'
"I tried one class, and man you know how it is. You get addicted from there."
Hamman is one of many up-and-coming fighters to transition from football to mixed martial arts. Coming from football, instead of some form of combat sport, has many benefits, Hamman believes.
"Football players have all around athleticism," Hamman said. "But as far as being an athlete, you have strength, power, speed, and quickness. But the other aspect is a lot of the guys are very coachable. That's why I think football players are successful [in mixed martial arts].
"Also, they come in with a clean slate. I only wrestled one year in high school; I didn't have any bad habits. Sometimes wrestlers drop their hands, boxers can't stop the takedown. I think the coach-ability factor is key."
Although coming from a football background is great for ones all around athleticism, wrestling has proven to be a necessity when it comes to being a successful mixed martial artist.
"Had I known how much wrestling helps MMA athletes now, had I known that in high school," Hamman said. "I would have wrestled every year."
So to make up for his lack of wrestling background, Hamman has spent quite a bit of time training at VMAT with Vladimir Matyushenko, who just so happens to be one of the best wrestlers in MMA today. When speaking about his time training with Matyushenko, Hamman had nothing but praise for the former UFC light heavyweight title challenger.
"Vlad always tells me 'hard heart, cold head.' Vlad's not just a wrestler, he's a European wrestler," Hamman said. "They are very technical. Vlad has always taught me technique, technique, technique. I don't need to be taught hard work, mental toughness, and whatnot." Hamman said. "I need to learn technique. I need to get better at technique.
"Vlad is fantastic at that. He teaches the right fundamentals. To be able to learn from him is amazing."
There is no secret that the time he has spent with Matyushenko will pay dividends when he takes on C.B. Dollaway. But going into their fight, Hamman knows he will be facing more than just a wrestler.
"I think he's a fighter that likes to stand and trade," Hamman said. "He's not only a wrestler, but the dude likes to fight. I respect that. I like fighting guys who like to bring it. He never backs down.
"And I think that's how a fight should be. It shouldn't be some pitter-patter; it should be about trying to win a fight, not letting it go to a decision.
Hamman also acknowledged the fact that he needed to watch out for Dollaway's takedowns. But what does Dollaway need to watch out for?
"I think he knows (laughs)," Hamman said. "Everyone knows I'm going to come in there to fight. Whether he takes me down or whether he stands up or whatever, I'm coming to knock his head off."
When asked for a prediction for their bout Sunday evening, Hamman explained that he is not one to make predictions. However, he did offer up one prediction.
"I'm going in there ready to fight my butt off and let the chips fall where they may," Hamman said. "That's what I do in every fight. That's the only thing I can predict. The rest is in God's hands."