Two guys walk into a bar.

A couple hours go by, and both of them have probably had a few too many appletinis, or whatever the cool kids drink these days. One of them is clearly a fair amount of buzzed, but his companion is full-out, red-faced, spilling on girls’ dresses, knocking over chairs, going to wake up and proclaim “I’m never drinking again” drunk.

This inebriated fella, in his drunken stupor, is feeling a tad aggressive. None of the girls have found his “Can I visit you between the holidays?” pick-up line funny, so it seems as though he’ll be leaving empty-handed for the night.

Hackleman Jr. (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Hackleman Jr. (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Instead, as inebriated fellas do when they can’t find a sweetheart who thinks their drunken chauvinistic stupor is amusing, he looks to be a stereotype of a drunken man in a different way. Might as well hit someone in the face, he reckons.

The drunk walks up to the bouncer. With 10 appletinis’ worth of liquid courage running through his blood, he raises his middle finger as serious as he can while trying to keep his balance.

The drunk’s friend grabs him from behind and pulls him out of the bar.

“Whaaa? I wanted to fight that dude. He…he was lookin’ at me funny and stuff.”

The friend shakes his head. “Don’t you know who that was?” he asks.

The drunk gives his friend the same philistine look that had been permanently plastered on his face the whole evening.

“That was John Hackleman Jr.” Same dumb look. “You know? John Hackleman’s kid? The guy who trained that UFC fighter, Chuck Liddell?”

The drunk thinks about it with all his might. The light went on in his head and, for a brief moment, a panic set in his eyes, the kind of panic one expresses when they know they’re about to get their ass kicked.

The dumb look returns. “Whatever. Screw this bar. Let’s get out of here. Aren’t even any hot chicks in this place anyway.”

Moral of the story: don’t start fights in a bar when RFA middleweight John Hackleman Jr. is working as the bouncer.

“The bar I work at now is a little bit more gangster and stuff, so we’ve definitely had some barroom brawls where I’ve had to knock a few people out,” Hackleman Jr. told The MMA Corner.

Hackleman Jr. occasionally moonlights as a bouncer for some extra cash, and he has seen his fair share of fights outside of the cage, where one can argue the stakes are even higher. After all, when outside of the cage, there are no rules.

“I try not to get in fights as much as possible, even at the point of letting people hit me and just detaining them,” he admitted. “When there’s that many people around you and stuff, at some point, you know, I’m not going to put my life on the line, so I’m going to start dropping people.”

Despite the hypothetical anecdote at the beginning of this story, many people don’t know who they’re messing with when they try to act tough. They don’t know that they’re going against an undefeated MMA fighter who’s been training in Hawaiian Kempo since he could remember.

The 32-year-old Hackleman Jr. recalls when he would take advantage of the unknown when he was younger. He would get into street fights, but those days are behind him.

“I’ve changed my mentality a lot,” he said. “I’ve grown up, maybe a little bit late. I am 32. I probably act like I’m 22.”

Getting into street fights as a young man and knocking people out sounds an awful lot like something we might hear in stories about his father’s star pupil, UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell.

Hackleman Jr. (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

Hackleman Jr. (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

“I was getting in trouble for it,” admitted Hackleman Jr., “and my dad would always be pissed at me. [Liddell] would always have my back.”

Who wouldn’t want to grow up with Chuck serving basically as their uncle? Although having UFC fighters constantly around his house was a normal thing for a young Hackleman Jr., there were times where he realized how big a star Uncle Chuck actually was.

“When I was 14, I remember him bringing me to the bar, and having girls hit on me,” said Hackleman Jr. “”I didn’t even know what to do. You know, they were like grown women, and I’m just a shy, little 14-year-old.”

He certainly had his fun, but growing up around one of the most famous fighters in MMA history also taught him how to train like the very best. That has produced devastating results. In both of “Handsome Hack’s” professional fights, he has knocked out his opponent. The finishes came in 67 seconds and 11 seconds, respectively, of the first round.

On Friday night at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City, Calif., Hackleman Jr. steps into the Resurrection Fighting Alliance cage for his next fight. He is facing a formidable opponent in Justin Jones, who is also 2-0 with two finishes.

“I’m definitely not looking past him,” Hackleman Jr. said of his RFA 15 opponent. “I’m just trying to win, so that in itself is the only thing I really care about doing, and just competing to the best of my abilities. I know that he’s a tough guy.”

Hackleman Jr. admitted that he would like to take his time and get some experiences before landing in the UFC, but he also recognizes that, at 32 years of age, his time is limited.

“I wish I would have taken things more seriously earlier in life, but my goals would have been the same if I’d have started competing professionally at 22. I want to be a world champion, and I want to be able to make a living doing, teaching and competing in martial arts. As of right now, I’m starting to be able to do that.

“”I’m in a rush, but I’m not in a rush.”

John would like to thank The Pit Paragon BJJ, his family, Bulldog Electric and Garden of Life. Follow Hackleman Jr. on Twitter: @JohnHacklemanJr

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.