The judo community is a relatively small one, especially once you go up the ranks to the highest-level practitioners. As such, it isn’t surprising Rick Hawn (14-2) and Karo Parisyan (22-9) have crossed paths before in the past. However, while fans might think a shared love of the ancient martial art would me enough to develop some level of camaraderie between Hawn/Parisyan entering their bout at Bellator 95, it turns out their relationship is far from friendly.
According to Hawn, he’s never clicked with Parisyan and is looking forward to finding out if he can take “The Heat” out in the cage as he has before on the mat.
“We don’t really like each other. We used to compete against each other in judo 10 or 12 years ago. We fought a couple times at the U.S. Opens. We’re not the biggest fans of each other,” admitted Hawn in a recent interview with MMAJunkie. “It started off as judo rivals, so that was part of it. And I just never really got along with him. He’s just not my favorite person to be around or to be associated with. It’s nothing more than that – I just don’t like him.”
Personal feelings aside, Hawn definitely respects Parisyan as a judoka and knows the 30-year old has some skills to be wary of.
“I’m sure someone’s going to get thrown in this fight. It definitely has the potential to be a crazy fight,” said Hawn before making it clear his focus wasn’t only on grappling with Parisyan. “I’m not really looking for it. If a throw happens and I catch him, that’s fine. Or if I just stand with him and bang. Whatever I feel is working best for me at that time, I’ll try to make sure I do and stay out of danger.”
Parisyan has won three of his last four fights including first-frame submissions in his last two outings. Comparably, Hawn is coming off a defeat to Bellator champion Michael Chandler but had scored success in three straight tilts leading up to the loss. Fans can catch them on the main portion of Thursday night’s card.
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR