UFC lightweight Nick Hein (14-4, 1 NC) will take on the ever-dangerous Frank Camacho this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 153 in Stockholm, Sweden. Originally scheduled to face Italian prospect, Luigi Vendramini, Hein had to throw together a new game plan for a very different opponent.
Regardless of who the opponent is, Nick Hein needs a win. He has dropped two consecutive fights for the first time in his career and could be fighting for his spot on the roster. Despite this setback, the German has stayed positive and continued to enjoy life away outside of fighting.
Hein sat down with John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock to discuss his recent setbacks, his sudden change in opponent, his acting career, and much more.
Moving back home
As one would expect, Nick Hein was a bit disappointed after dropping a split decision to Damir Hadzovic in his last Octagon appearance just under a year ago. Though he felt he did enough to win the fight, Hein refused to let his second consecutive loss put a bad taste in his mouth.
“Looking back, I took this fight as a learning process for the upcoming fight. You know, to switch things up and make it better.”
Specifically, Hein referenced his need to go back to his judo background. The former police officer is also a former national judo champion. In an effort to get back to his dominant judo roots, Hein has moved back home to Germany where he trains exclusively with German coaches and fighters. Many older veteran fighters have seen great success after re-establishing what brought them their success. Nick Hein hopes to do the same through his return to Germany.
“I’m originally a judo player so I should know some takedowns and stuff. That was like the critique of the fans; they said you should throw more. You know, sometimes the fans are right so I took that all in for the process for the upcoming fight.”
“I’ve been training specifically with German coaches and German fighters. I used to live in Los Angeles for two years and in Thailand before that and now I train in Germany. I basically went back to my roots and it’s a little bit like Rocky I imagine. You see when Rocky fights Ivan Drago and Drago is in that very modern training facility, they have all the machines and stuff. Rocky is training old school. For this training camp, we are going old school.”
Frank Camacho jumps in
Nick Hein’s “old school” training style will certainly be put to the test when he takes on an experienced and durable pressure fighter in Frank Camacho. Camacho’s style is a huge change from the outside striking of Luigi Vendramini that Hein expected to face. Still, the German took the fight against his new opponent without hesitation.
“Camacho is so different than Vendramini. Vendramini more tries to move sideways and not engage and Camacho is basically upfront, in your face punching, so they asked. They said ‘if you’re still in, you can fight him’ and I said yes, of course. I want to fight.”
“He has a very exciting fighting style. There is almost no chance of not having an exciting fight when he’s involved. He brings it, so I liked the fact that I would fight him because I knew it would be a barn-burner. It will be good. I believe he’s a very strong guy and he has heart for the way he fights and for taking the fight on short notice.”
A man of many endeavors
With the title of police officer and actor on his resume, Nick Hein will be the first to tell you that there is more to life than fighting. While his focus is entirely on defeating Frank Camacho, the German enjoys the mental break from the monotony of training. He is the first to admit that fighting can be a mentally exhausting sport and that what people perceive as “distractions” can actually be a huge positive and a contributor to staying passionate and focused.
“When I’m at home, when I’m playing a video game, when I’m in my car, doing normal stuff, sometimes it hits you. Shit man, in three weeks I’m gonna have to go in that cage and fight somebody until blood comes and maybe somebody gets hurt. It’s so unreal sometimes but we all try to make things normal for ourselves.”
In the spirit of keeping life normal away from the cage, Hein, who has done some acting work, did some reporting work on a documentary on police in Germany. He does not see it as a plan for the future but something he can do alongside fighting to keep his mind active away from the gym. Regardless of his life outside of the cage, when Nick Hein steps into the Octagon this Saturday, he will be well-prepared for the challenge of Frank Camacho.