Ian Heinisch: From behind bars to MMA

Ian “The Hurricane” Heinisch is an undefeated middleweight mixed martial artist training out of Factory
X. The Hurricane nickname not only embodies his fighting style, but it also symbolizes the whirlwind of a journey this young fighter has faced outside of the cage.


Ian Heinisch, right, works the pads with his partner in preparation for his April 21 fight at Legacy Fighting Alliance 10 in Colorado Springs. Photo by Old Soul Era Photography

“Honestly I try to relive those dark moments right before the fight,” Heinisch said when asked about his past. “I know my opponent hasn’t been there and I just know that I was mentally tough enough that I survived what I survived and I know I am going to keep surviving. I’m here for a purpose.”

Heinisch is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career holding a professional record of 7-0. That’s not to say that Heinisch hasn’t been knocked down many times before. Heinisch recalled being deported from Canada back to the U.S. while working there illegally.

Instead of finding legal work in the states, he ended up getting into the drug trade. Then, Heinisch was set up in a sting by a DEA task force.

“I started getting some pills sent to me and just started selling them little by little, making good money,” Heinisch said. “It was just addictive and eventually, I got set up. Walmart parking lot, I’ll never forget, gun to my head, drug force, boom, they put me in and I remember, I bailed out and I said no way am I going to jail at this age for years. No way.”

Heinisch then left his family and hopped on a Greyhound bus to Indiana. Shortly after arriving in Indiana, Heinsch traveled to New York before ending up in Amsterdam.

“New York, to Amsterdam with about 1,000 bucks in my pocket, didn’t know anyone. It was kind of a dream I had to backpack the world and this was kind of the big push that says it’s time to go.” Heinisch said.

From Amsterdam, Heinisch headed to Belgium then to England where he lived in the same apartment he worked, painting during the day and camped out at night with no furniture, hot water or carpet.

“I needed something better, so I went down and I found out all these English people go to Tenerife, go to the Canary Islands,” he said. “I cruised down there and I met this American out there, whose father was Cuban and they took me in like family, they still are like family and I lived with them for a while then after I got my head straight they said, ‘Hey gringo let’s go make some real money.’” Heinisch then got into the drug trade full-force.

“That’s when it started again. I started going down to Colombia, Venezuela, Aruba. We would get the merchandise and bring it back. I think after, I don’t know how many trips, but after a while I had too many stamps in my passport and they took me in.”

Heinisch received a three-and-a-half year sentence after sitting in prison for an entire year in the foreign Canary Islands without knowing anything.

“They broke me a few times in there where I just said I don’t care what happens to my life. That’s how you had to be, that’s how you beat them.”

While in prison, Heinisch was able to continue in combat competition and training.

“It was their style called lucha canaria. It was takedowns only in a gladiator pit type thing in the sand,” Heinisch explained, “I got to wrestle in there and kickbox in there.”

He was then moved to another prison that had a great boxing program.

“It just was all meant to be. I got some good training in there and it was a good look for me for sure. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t have the access to train.”

Heinisch’s opportunity to train while incarcerated is the driving force behind his ultimate goal: opening a halfway house with a gym for kids that receive long-term prison sentences.

“Just give them a way out because going to prison in America will just ruin anyone. I don’t care who you are,” Heinisch said.

He understands there are necessary steps to take in order to achieve his goal of giving back to the youth.

“The first step is winning the world title in the UFC.” he said. With that said, Heinisch believes his fight April 21 at LFA 10 v. Lucas Rota in Pueblo should be his ticket to the big show.

“I believe that if I do the job I know I’m going to do and take care of business and finish Rota in the first or second, I will get a call from the UFC. It’s my time.”

Author: Jake Howard

One Response to "Ian Heinisch: From behind bars to MMA"

  1. Connie  April 18, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Kick some ass Ian!!
    We are behind you.



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