written by Nick Shimkin
Coach Eric Hyer from Longo-Weidman MMA has been with the team and around combat sports since the beginning. Starting in 1992 as a student of the legendary Ray Longo in an auto detail garage, Hyer has been a pioneer of the striking style that so many of the LAW MMA fighters have learned and mastered. “Me and Ray started out in East Coast Detail, I was just starting out trying to make it as a kickboxer and when I went out to Arizona State for college he recommended me to the Fairtex Academy,” said Hyer. A few fights later, Hyer ended up in Thailand, competing amongst some of the best in Muay Thai. He recalled, “I was a live-in fighter at the academy in Thailand and at 19 years old I turned pro. I I still have some of the scars from my fights over there from the brutal elbows that those guys deliver!” Hyer had an excellent run in Asia, beating some of the most respected fighters in the East.
After an unfortunate car accident which left Hyer injured, he still had aspirations to compete. However, many of the fighters in Arizona where he lived at the time liked his unorthodox striking style, combining American Boxing and pure Muay Thai. “I was working with Joe Diesel Riggs a lot, fixing up some striking techniques and one thing led to another with me cornering him and holding pads for him and next thing I knew he was calling me his striking coach.” Hyer later coached in the now disbanded IFL with Team Couture and in 2008 he returned to New York. “Me and Ray always were very close and after I came back we were sharing many techniques and strategies, and it was funny to see that before I was just a kid learning from him and now he was picking things up from me, and Ray has always been the type of person to be able to learn from anyone. There is no ego with him.”
Since becoming a full time striking coach for LAW MMA in 2010, Hyer has helped develop some of the big names in the sport. One of these is “Raging” Al Iaquinta, who is a great friend of Hyer and of whom Hyer speaks very highly. “Iaquinta makes me a better coach, every camp we work together and every single time we have one of those moments where we try something new and it just clicks. In the Diego Sanchez fight it was doubling or even tripling up on the right hand and that’s how he knocked Diego out. Al is more of a friend than a student or fighter and he really makes me a better coach and person.” Hyer also worked with former middleweight champion Chris Weidman when he was just starting out. “Ray always told me this kid was going to be great and seeing him turn into the fighter he is has been cool to see.”
Now, Eric Hyer is focused on developing the next generation of fighters from LAW MMA. “We have a hot crop of fighters coming out of our team. Dylan Mantello, Dennis Buzukja, Charlie Campbell and a ton of other guys are going to be studs in the future. Campbell and Mantello both won at Triton Fights recently, so they have started off on the right foot.” The future is bright for the Serra Longo Fight Team with these young, hungry fighters leading the way.
New York Fighting would like to thank Coach Eric Hyer for taking the time to talk with us and LAW MMA for allowing us to use the gym to conduct the interview.
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