Hinchliffe to Make Impact on Starnes at AFC 3
Nick Hinchliffe has come a long way in his MMA career. The former junior football champion was a 275 lb fullback just five years ago, but has now transformed himself into a 185 lb Middleweight with eyes set firmly on the big leagues. To get there, Hinchliffe will have to beat Kalib Starnes at AFC 3 on July 17th.
After losing his desire to play football at age 21, Nick was looking for an individual sport to play. A friend suggested MMA, so he started training. “I wrestled in high school, played fullback, and have a little evilness in me. (MMA) suited me,” says Hinchliffe.
The MMA trainer, John Punt, also suited him. “After my first workout, John kept saying ‘you’ve got to come back, you’ve got to come back’. Punt recognized Hinchliffe’s ability on day one and to this day his Impact MMA coach “gets the best results out of me.”
Did he ever get results! Hinchliffe reeled off nine straight wins to start off his fight career and quickly developed a large fan following due to his reknown for always going for the finish. Hinchliffe explains his success,
I love the training and I love to fight. I will fight any fighter at my weight. I will fight on two days notice. I have moved up and down weight classes to fight. I just love to fight.
Maybe Hinchliffe moved up and down weight classes too much. Nick fought former Pride fighter Travis Galbraith at Light-Heavyweight and Middleweight and lost two out of three matches. Nick fought ex-UFC fighter Victor Valimaki and came up short. He even fought future UFC fighter Rory MacDonald at Welterweight and lost. The former 9-0 fighter was 4-5 in his next nine fights, albeit against higher ranked competition.
Since that loss to MacDonald, Hinchliffe has promised a prolonged stay at Middleweight. His current climb up the 185 lb divisional ladder has been positive with big wins over Craig Brown and the previously undefeated Dan MacIver. In fact, the win over MacIver at AFC 2 set up the AFC 3 Middleweight title shot and also avenged a previous loss where Nick states, “I was dominating the fight and MacIver caught me.”
Now there are rumors of potential shots in the UFC or Strikeforce. The Nanaimo fighter, who just fell short of making the casts of The Ultimate Fighter 10 and 11, refuses to confirm the rumors but maintains that “it looks good as long as I keep winning.”
Standing in his way is Kalib Starnes, a fighter who was 2-3 in the UFC with a win over Chris Leben but was let go after not engaging Nate Quarry in an infamous UFC 83 fight. According to Hinchliffe, Starnes’ camp thinks it should be an easy night and the thought of Starnes trying to steal his shot at the big time infuriates Nick.
He had his shot (at the UFC) and had his time in the sun and he did what he did with that shot. Now he is going to try and take my shot away from me? That pisses me off and I am not going to let him take it away from me. It’s my time!
The full time father of a young daughter and full time employee of Saywell Contracting is putting everything into this fight. Nick is solid grappler who hits with concrete hands, but his conditioning may be his ultimate weapon against Starnes. “Cardio makes a coward out of any man. I took ‘Farmer’ Brown’s heart when his gas tank ran out,” states Hinchliffe.
Make no mistake. Nick understands that Starnes is a dangerous fighter. “Starnes is no slouch,” the confident fighter admits, “but there are things that I am better than him at. I will beat him where I am better. He is underestimating me in several areas and that will be his mistake.”