Everyone has that one person who gets on their nerves.
Sometimes it's tough to explain why you don't like them. Perhaps they give off the wrong vibe, perhaps they made the wrong first impression or hell, it could just be a subconscious thing.
For Rick Hawn, that man is Karo Parisyan.
Both Hawn and Parisyan have history, competing at extremely high levels of judo when Hawn was working his way towards the 2004 United States Olympic team. While they were butting heads on the judo mats, Parisyan was putting on incredible performances inside the Octagon in mixed martial arts.
Tonight, their paths will finally meet as Hawn will briefly bump back up to welterweight to take on Parisyan in the opening bout of the Bellator 95 main card in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Hawn spoke to MMAmania.com during a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission talking about his learning experiences from the title fight against Michael Chandler, his longstanding rivalry with Karo Parisyan and why he's temporarily fighting up a weight class in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It seems like you wanted to get back in the Bellator cage pretty quickly after competing in the first main event of this eighth season. Can you talk about your mindset and why you felt the need to get back into the cage with such a quick turnaround?
Rick Hawn: There's actually a couple reasons. One of them is I like to be active and stay active. If I didn't get this fight, I'd most likely be off until September or October during the next Bellator lightweight tournament. That's nine months and that's way too long. I'm getting older and I just don't want to take that much time off. I want to stay active and give myself a reason to train more focused and something to prepare for. Also, money-wise, it's a good thing to stay active because this is my full-time job. Getting another paycheck sooner rather than later is always a plus. Lastly, I wanted to get that last loss off my record and out of my mind. It's already off my mind but I just wanted to get a win as soon as possible.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How did you respond in the gym after the tough loss to Michael Chandler?
Rick Hawn: Obviously I was pissed off. I knew what that loss meant but after some deeper thought, at the end of the day I didn't lose to a scrub. I lost to someone who's definitely a top 10 guy and deserves the title he has. That still pissed me off so I got right back in the gym. I want to keep getting better and stay active. That's why I took this fight so soon. I'm over the loss at this point but I just want to get another win under my belt.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Pat Barry once said on a conference call that there's no such thing as a loss, there are wins and learning experiences. Was there anything that you really took from the Chandler fight that you think will make you a better fighter this time around?
Rick Hawn: Absolutely. It's an experience. I'm a competitor and wins and losses happen. Learning from that defines each fighter, how you learn from a loss like that. It wasn't a long fight but I definitely had new experiences. I'd never been on bottom before during a fight. I was trying to get up from bottom and it was tough. It was new to me and now I know what it feels like. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting another shot here at the belt if I can win the tournament again. First thing's first is I have a tough opponent in front of me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you think it would be better for you to get into that next tournament having fought more recently because you had a pretty long layoff before you fought for the lightweight title?:
Rick Hawn: Yeah, absolutely. I don't know if the layoff hindered me for the last fight but yeah definitely taking almost 2/3 of a year off is too long. I like to stay active and always have something coming up. It's better for me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Is there any particular reason you wanted to take this fight at welterweight or was it simply because Karo didn't want to go below 170 pounds?
Rick Hawn: They were having trouble finding me opponents at 155 so I was like, "Screw it. I'll fight Karo at 170." I asked for it originally at 165 but he didn't want to go down lower than 170 so it's fine. He's not a huge, huge welterweight like some of the other guys so that's one of the reasons I was fine taking the fight at 170.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): When you're normally fighting at 155, how much weight do you usually have to lose during fight week?
Rick Hawn: Well I only had to cut 10 pounds for this fight. I'm taking it easy. I usually walk around at 180 or 185 when I'm fighting at lightweight so it's nice and easy for me and refreshing to not have to worry about the weight cut so much. When I had to cut down, I had a good nutritionist so I expect to be lighter and faster than Karo will be. Strength-wise, I'm fine with that as well. I'm looking forward to this.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I never knew you had history with Karo Parisyan until my first interview with you before your first welterweight tournament. You were talking about having some bad blood with Karo and that you'd faced him in judo a few times back in the day. What were those matches like?
Rick Hawn: Well the matches weren't that bad. I didn't crush him during those fights but that was also before I got really good at judo. I was average back then. We just never gelled. I never really liked the guy. People that I hang out and associate with never got along with him so much. I don['t know. He's just one of those guys that I don't really like and everybody has someone they don't really like. He's that one person for me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It probably makes it that much sweeter then knowing that it won't just be a judo match, you'll get to punch him in the face too, right?
Rick Hawn: Yeah for sure. (laughs) I know he's probably thinking the same thing considering what he's said about me. He's pissed off and we've talked about how we don't like each other. We get to punch each other now so it'll be fun.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you think judo will be a factor in this fight or are you going to just try to knock his head off like you've done in all your recent fights?
Rick Hawn: You never know. I'm sure he's gonna want to try to get in the clinch and try to throw me. That's just a part of him and I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to make a statement that he's a better judo player than me. But the thing is, it's not a judo fight. It's MMA and it could go either way. Wherever I feel most comfortable, I'm going to go there. If I feel confident in the clinch or standing, I might go wherever it makes the most sense for me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Parisyan was once considered one of the best welterweights in the world, but he's fallen off from that point and had a bit of a career tailspin since. What type of Karo Parisyan are you expecting when you step into the cage?
Rick Hawn: I've made it a point in my career to never underestimate anyone. I'm expecting the best version of Karo and that's what I prepared for. If that version of Karo shows up I'll be ready for it and if the lesser version shows up, it'll be a plus for me. I'm ready for whatever he brings to the table. I don't think he'll be that best version of himself, at least from the recent fights I've seen but he's definitely still dangerous so I can't take him lightly at all.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Lately, he's suffered from a few panic attacks, some anxiety before his big fights. Are you worried at all about any pre-fight shenanigans?
Rick Hawn: I hope he shows up to fight. If he backs out that would really suck but like you said, knowing his history, that's gotta be something that can take affect. The one thing that might help is he doesn't like me very much so perhaps he's really looking to trying to hit me and that'll motivate him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): One of the big stories after your last fight was your sponsor situation. I'm glad everything ended up getting sorted out there. Is everything a lot better for you sponsor-wise heading into this fight?
Rick Hawn: Yeah, that last sponsor, that guy was a douche. (laughs) That's all taken care of and Bellator was helpful as well. They stepped up and helped me out because that guy cancelled the payment. I was grateful to Bellator and Bjorn. Sponsor-wise, this fight I just signed with Alchemist MMA a couple weeks ago. I was out on my own up until that point so sponsors for this fight haven't been great but Lex McMahan is doing his best and we'll see if things are bigger for the next fight in September now that we have more time to prepare. Hopefully it'll be a lot better. It's certainly not bad.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've probably been wondering how a fight against Karo Parisyan would go for 10 years now. When you picture this fight finally coming to fruition, how do you see it playing out in your head?
Rick Hawn: Well I'd like to finish him right away and shut him up and be done with it and go hang out with my friends and family afterwards but I'm expecting a tough fight. I'm well prepared in every aspect and I'm just looking to be active and put on a good performance.
Rick would like to thank all his boys at Tristar Gym and Renzo Gracie. You can follow him on Twitter @RickHawnMMA.