Melvin Manhoef (47-11, 37 KO's) faces Filip Verlinden (42-11-1, 16 KO's) in the quarter-final stages of the GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING Middleweight Championship Tournament taking place in Los Angeles today, Saturday 21st.
A living legend in the fight game, Manhoef has fought at heavyweight, light-heavyweight and middleweight over the course of a storied career.
His power is infamous - despite being short even for a middleweight, he is the only fighter to have cleanly KO'd the super-heavyweight Mark Hunt with a punch.
At 38, Manhoef is approaching venerable years in terms of fighter age. But his fires burn bright as ever and he thinks a new emotional maturity makes him even more dangerous to his opponents.
Did you go with Mike's Gym for your preparations or was this all at your gym, Manhoef Fighting and Fitness?
Manhoef Fighting and Fitness, yeah. Me and Mike decided that because I have to focus on my own gym also, you know, I get permission off him, he told me what to do now because he's very busy with a lot of guys.
But it's very nice. I got some good help from some other guys who are friends with me who came to my gym and help to build my gym as Manhoef Fighting and Fitness because I want to build my gym up also.
I got like a whole team and the team is willing to help me. Mike is still also my coach but he will not be at every fight, he's a friend and we have history together and history will stay for always.
You've fought at all different weights, but middleweight seems to suit your frame better.
Yeah I have kickboxed at this weight before; I was world champion at It's Showtime. At this weight... I don't know, I feel upset, sometimes it better fight heavier guys because they are slower.
Here now I have that same explosiveness still but the other guys also have it and they are faster than the heavyweights so it's going to be harder. But it's going to be ok.
Tactics can change in a tournament but history suggests you will try to finish each guy in one minute...
This time no. I am more mature now, I am less emotional, I am cold hearted. lost all that weight so I can burst my explosiveness more, so I think I will be a problem for them. My focus is very good, my strength and conditioning is good so it's going to be very hard for them.
What do you think of Filip's [Verlinden] style? FIlip tends to take guys to decision; he is very tight, technical.
Yes, he is tight, technical. Filip's style is like, moving a lot, moving well. I have to do the things what we trained with my team, focus on the game plan and if I do that I think we'll get the win.
You've faced every style of fighter over the years so it's not like anyone is going to surprise you with how they fight...
Of course, it's also the momentum of the day and it's going to be my momentum, it's going to be my time. Even though I am a veteran and people write me off, you know? But I will surprise them.
Your last fight was in MMA, the big rematch with Cyborg Santos. It went very quick, were you expecting to stop him in less than a minute?
No, I wasn't expecting that, I wanted to do the same as the first fight and go over that but it happened so fast. This was a good win for me, good for my self-confidence.
What was the crowd like afterwards, were they cool?
It was quiet. Yeah it was cool and afterwards they were very happy but still it was still a Brazilian.
But you know I respected them, it was very nice for me.
If you look at your career path over the next year or two between now and retirement, do you still want to get maybe a couple of fights in the UFC or do you want to stay in kickboxing now?
What I want to do is just fight, I've got management from Black House, they do my management in America and I have my other guys doing my management in Holland.
Ah, that's why we saw you training with Machida.
Yeah, with Machida, that's why. So I have to do what I have to do in this fighting game, destroying people and give good fight, then it's easier for my management to put me where they want and if it's the UFC, it's the UFC.
I would really like to fight in the UFC because it's the only place I never have fought before and it's also an achievement if you fight there so if my fight style suits the UFC, it would be nice. Although my other managers are also busy with a lot of things, like One FC, so we will see.