Mark Coleman. Irish blood, never been to Ireland. Oh how the Irish in Dublin are going to love this guy, a fighting legend. He may have an American accent, but he talks and walks like an Irishman. Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua will feel like he has stepped into Coleman’s backyard.
The big question of course – and MC is not looking past Shogun, it was my line of questioning - is about that fight with Brock Lesnar which was cancelled.
Or was it just postponed ? Coleman is not getting any younger – and Lesnar certainly isn’t getting any smaller.
“I still want a fight with Lesnar – but that’s up to the UFC,” the original ground and pound King told me this week.
He was in fine fettle. “I don’t turn down a fight. It was a huge opportunity against this big, enormous guy. I would not back down if the opportunity arises again. When I found out he was going to do MMA, I knew he would do very well just because of his physical dimensions, his power, and his speed.”
“He’s going to be hard to contend with for anybody. He’s also taking the sport very seriously. He’s difficult to beat, there’s no doubt about that. I’d have to find a way to beat him, put in one hell of a training camp, never sit still against him, have to be able to move the entire match, and have to hit him in the jaw. Everyone has a jaw. I would not count myself out given half a chance.”
“I’m both an athlete and a fighter. You have to be both to get in the cage. I enjoy saying, or telling people I’m a cage fighter. I’m very proud of it.”
Coleman also told me that he felt the sport of MMA would mushroom around the world once the right conditions were put in place. “I always thought it had the chance, but it had to go through a lot of legal battles, which it need to and with the Fertitta brothers and Dana White fighting the cause, they made the proper rule changes, and here we are.
“I personally thought it was the greatest sport in the world – even way back - it was definitely unique – perhaps I even preferred it ‘wild and woolly’, did you say, yes, they were the good old days. But for the sport to excel and succeed it needed to change.”
And the Olympics ? Coleman, of course, finished 7th in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona as a wrestler. “Will MMA get into the Olympics ? I think that would be a difficult step, but anything is possible. They might have to tweak the rules a little bit for it to be possible, and there would be a lot of convincing with a lot of bigwigs. All we have to do is convince them that it is the greatest sport in the world – which it is.”