After watching last Friday's Bellator 138 main event between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock, UK MMA legend Ian Freeman wasn't too impressed with either man's performance. In an article on dailysport.co.uk, the retired UFC veteran stated yesterday that he would love to put the gloves back on one last time, to fight Slice at Bellator.
"Kimbo is old-school like me. He's younger, but old-school," Freeman said, when contacted by Bloody Elbow. "I'm not a fool, I'm not going to come back into fighting and challenge a young gun, that's just silly. But there's something about an old-school fight, that people love to watch."
"I love it when people think I'm too old. I've yet to gas out. I still train three hours a day, five days a week and when my guys get ready for fight camp, so do I, and I'm more skilled now than I was 10 years ago," he said. "Sure age isn't on my side, but neither is it on Kimbo's side. I'm not saying I'm gonna win easy, but I will win."
"Kimbo is a dangerous striker, but I'm a dangerous ground and pound specialist and my submissions are also good now. (It would) be interesting to see who stays standing and who gets it to the ground. Styles make fights," he continued. "I'm more skilled now than I was in my prime. 15 years as a coach have made my skill level increase dramatically. I know one thing for sure, my shoot would have been a lot faster and better, my RNC would have put Kimbo to sleep and I wouldn't dive after being hit twice."
Ian Freeman is a pioneer of the UK MMA scene, a former Cage Rage heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion and the first man to beat Frank Mir, back at UFC 38. Freeman made his MMA debut in 1999, debuted in the UFC at UFC 24 in 2000 and retired in 2013 with a professional record of 20-7-1. Today, he works as a local promoter with his Machina MMA event series and as regular commentator for M-1 Global events.
Freeman has had a lengthy and public feud with Shamrock over the years, as both men were supposed to fight on several occasions, with Shamrock pulling out of the fights citing injuries.
"My first reaction (when I heard of Shamrock vs. Kimbo) was, 'Will Shamrock show up?'," Freeman said. "Then I thought, why will Shamrock fight Kimbo, but has ducked me for years? Then I thought, someone's taking a dive in this fight."
Slice has beaten Shamrock via TKO in the first round of their main-event encounter. After being taken down with a single-leg and fighting off a rear-naked choke attempt, some critics have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the fight, including UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
"If it wasn't fixed, then it was the worst fight in MMA history", Freeman stated. "Some say it can't be fixed, because Shamrock got cut. If the money is right, any desperate man will take a punch. Hell, I would beat my grandma up, if the money was right."
Freeman has his own share of critics as well. At 48-years old, after two years of retirement, not everybody was enthusiastic to hear about his plans to step into the cage against 41-year old Slice in main-event fight at Bellator. Slice guarantees a huge TV audience, the fight against Shamrock averaged more than 2 million viewers. A fight against him is always a fight with a lot of money involved for either party.
"Some say I'm only doing this fight to get the money... Wakey wakey dumb fucks. Why else do I want to fight? It sure isn't gonna be for free. I have a family to support. Anyhow, it's gonna be a very entertaining and interesting fight. Some will tune in to watch me win, some will tune in to watch me lose, others will tune in just to see a great fight. Either way, people will tune in and that's all that matters."
For Freeman, this is not just a media stunt or a way for him to get his face on sports websites. If Bellator wants, he will step up and fight, he said.
"Of course it's real. A fighter never really hangs up his gloves. A fighter always wants to fight. I always wanted Shamrock, he always pulled out of our fights. Kimbo beat him, so why not ask to fight the man that beat the man I wanted.
I get goose bumps just thinking about it."