He rested in a hotel bed shortly after midnight in Boston, unclear as to the next step in his primary career, yet relaxed after a day's work on his second career.
The phone rang. Not usually the time of night that bears positive news.
Latest MMA stories
"Are you ready?'' the voice on the other end of the phone said.
"Born ready,'' was the response.
And like that, after a day on a movie set doing stunt scenes, Jay Hieron was back in the UFC. After seven years fighting in seven other promotions. It was a span that included a 10-fight win streak, the IFL welterweight title and Bellator's Season 4 welterweight tournament.
"I knew the call would come, I just didn't know when, where, what card," the Freeport High School alum said. "I was just doing my job training, staying in shape, being the professional that I am. I was going to stay active. This is my liveliheood."
That was in July. Hieron was scheduled to fight Jake Ellenberger at UFC 151 on Sept. 1. But like so many other times before with Hieron, something happened. UFC 151 was canceled, the first such occurrence since Zuffa bought the company in 2001.
Something always happens with Hieron, it seems. He used to joke that he should change his nickname from "The Thoroughbred'' to "The Controversy.''
"I've been through a lot of stuff in this game, contract stuff, a lot of my hopes being hope and stuff coming through and a lot of stuff not coming through," Hieron said.
But when he does fight, he does well. Very well. See his 23 wins compared with 5 losses. Hieron, 36, will next fight Ellenberger (27-6) on Friday in Minneapolis at UFC on FX 5. Assuming something doesn't happen first.
Hieron was in Boston working on a new Sandra Bullock movie coming out in 2013 titled "The Heat" when he got the call from his manager. Hieron was filming stunts and fight scenes for the female buddy cop comedy co-starring Melissa McCarthy ("Bridesmaids," "Mike & Molly").
"My career just took me on a journey which made me mentally strong," Hieron said.
"It feels like I'm almost to a certain point and I'm back down the ladder. It feels like I work my way back up and then back down the ladder. Maybe it's that drive that keeps me going."
He said acting is something he wants to pursue after his MMA career ends.
"My movie record is, like, 0-20,'' Hieron said.
Not the case in the cage.