By Elias Cepeda
Ten-time world champion Tyrone Spong made a name for himself punching and kicking people in the head as a kickboxer but has recently begun to establish a reputation for, well, punching and kicking people in the head in MMA competition. The Dutch striker is 2-0 in MMA but will next compete this Saturday under kickboxing rules at Glory 11 in Hoffman Estates, IL; you can watch the action live on Spike TV starting at 9 p.m. ET. CagePotato sat down with the “King of the Ring” and asked him five questions about his training, legacy, “real Muay Thai”, his upcoming opponent and his future plans.
CagePotato: What made you decide to branch out from kickboxing and start fighting in MMA as well? Was it just a matter of being able to make more money by fighting more and in different sports? And how hard has it been for you, physically and mentally, to balance it all?
Tyrone Spong: For me, being active in different disciplines — it’s a challenge but I enjoy doing that. Of course all pro fighters need to make money but what I’m really trying to do is build a legacy as one of the greatest of all time in combat sports. So far, everything is going well. But the training and fighting so often is hard. It’s hard. The key for me is to have my physical condition up there all the time. So, I always train. Then, once I get a fight, if it’s an MMA fight I focus on that or if it’s a kickboxing fight, I focus on that.
CP: You fight this weekend in Glory — which has basically replaced K-1 as the biggest kickboxing organization in the world. Some of the very best kickboxers in the world fight there now, but the rules are far from real Muay Thai rules. Extended clinching isn’t allowed and elbows are not allowed, for example. Do you ever wish that the big kickboxing organizations, like K-1 before and Glory now, used real Muay Thai rules?
Spong: Yeah, I grew up training and fighting with those rules. I fought real Muay Thai fights with elbows and everything and did that at the highest level. I’ve been fighting Muay Thai since I was 18. I’ve been in Muay Thai main events since I was 18 years old.
CP: You have a rematch with Nathan Corbett this Saturday at Glory. (In their first fight in 2009, Corbett TKO’d Spong but then hit him once more after the ref stopped the fight. The fight result was then changed to a no contest.) You are obviously familiar with him. How do you characterize him as a fighter?
Spong: He’s very strong. Physically strong. And he’s experienced and so is able to put it all together well.
CP: After this fight, what’s next, another MMA fight or another kickboxing fight?
Spong: Well, we have to get through this fight first but I’m actually very active in boxing as well right now and I want to make my pro boxing debut before the year ends.