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Exclusive Interview: Mark Coleman Talks UFC Return


(Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)

It came as no surprise to MMA fans when Mark Coleman was inducted into the UFC’s Hall of Fame last March. After all, the former Olympic wrestler became the UFC’s first-ever heavyweight champion when he defeated Dan Severn at UFC 12 in February 1997, and his legendary career has also seen him win PRIDE’s 2000 Grand Prix and score victories over the likes of Don Frye (twice), Ricardo Morais, and Mauricio Rua. What was surprising was that at 43 years of age, Coleman announced he was returning to the Octagon, and would take on the hulking Brock Lesnar in his first fight back.

Though that match was scrapped when Coleman suffered a knee injury, Coleman is now fully recovered and will begin the next chapter of his career at UFC 93 on January 17th — just over ten years after his last UFC appearance. He’ll also be competing as a light-heavyweight for the first time, in a rematch against Mauricio Rua. (Infamously, their first fight ended with a broken arm and a foot on Wanderlei Silva‘s neck.) We caught up with The Hammer to talk about the mental challenges of MMA, his gameplan for the fight, and what may be in store for the future…

***

CAGEPOTATO: Hey Mark, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. What have you been up to this week?
MARK COLEMAN: Just trying to keep myself together mentally and emotionally. It’s getting close to the fight, and at least half this sport is mental so I’m trying to stay strong. Physically, I feel fine; training went well, and I just gotta get through a few more practices and I’ll be ready to go.

Could you tell us more about those mental and emotional challenges that come up before a fight?
Just in general, it’s a tough sport. It’s the most demanding sport in the world, so you gotta keep the warm-up doubt out, you gotta stay mentally strong, you gotta believe in yourself, stay confident, because if you don’t believe in yourself, you don’t stand a chance. But I believe I can do this. I put in a lot of hard work, and I plan on winning the fight.

Would you say your health is 100%, or is your knee injury from last year still somewhat of an issue?
No, the MCL healed up 100%, it’s not a problem.

This is the first time you’ll have to cut weight for an MMA match. How much of a challenge will that be for you, and how are you making it happen?
Surprisingly, it’s not going to be as difficult as I thought. Right now I’m just a little under 220 pounds. I had a very strict diet combined with hard training, and the weight came off pretty good. I don’t anticipate there being a problem making weight. I don’t think I lost too much strength, and I’m very pleased with that as well.

You’ve said that you’ll have a strength advantage on Shogun. Does that mean your plan will be to outwrestle him?


I’m not sure what’s gonna happen once the bell starts. I’ve been working my standup quite a bit, and I do feel like I have a lot of power in both hands. It only takes one good shot to win some of these fights, so I wouldn’t mind trying to trade with him and see what happens in that area, but if things aren’t going so well there, definitely I’ll be taking him to the ground and taking care of him there.

You have a four-fight contract with the UFC. Do you think you’ll go back into retirement after those four fights, or does it really depend on how those fights play out?
Everything depends on this first fight. We’ll see how this one goes, and hopefully we’ll be looking for a second fight. You can’t look too far into the future, especially at my age, so I just gotta get through this first one and take it from there.

If you’re successful against Shogun, are more heavyweight fights a possibility at some point, or do you think you’ll finish out your career at 205 pounds?
I definitely feel that I’m a 205-pounder now, but I don’t turn down offers to fight anybody, so if a huge fight came up at heavyweight down the road, I would certainly take the fight.

Your last match was a little over two years ago. Besides getting re-signed by the UFC, inducted into their Hall of Fame, and training, what else have you been up to in that time?
I’ve spent a lot of time with my kids, and that’s been very special to me. I think the hardest part about this sport is being away from your children. They’re what motivates me. They’re both athletes — my oldest daughter is a great gymnast, and my youngest daughter is an all-star softball player — I love going to watch them and being around them. They’re what puts a smile on my face. They’re my life.

You were the fifth fighter inducted into the UFC’s Hall of Fame. Who do you think should be inducted next?
A lot of people could be in there, but it’s not up to me to decide. We’ll leave that in the hands of the owners and Dana White. But I was very appreciative and very grateful for them putting me in there. It was a great night in my life, and one that I’ll never forget.

You started fighting in the UFC before it was owned by Zuffa. Is it strange coming back to an organization where the management is completely different?
Well, it is different. I remember when Rampage came back he talked about how different it was and all the added pressure, and I have to agree. The magnitude of it seems a heck of a lot bigger than it was over in Pride. Even though the fight is in Ireland it’ll be on TV here in America and it’s very special to me. But just like I said, you gotta keep yourself together and right now I’m feeling pretty good.

Well that’s all I have for you, Mark. Is there any people or sponsors you want to shout out before we sign off?
I definitely need to thank Cage Fighter, MMA Authentics, MMA Elite, my Aunt Mary — she’s been a personal sponsor of mine for years — my parents, my family, and Hammer House teammates, and last but most importantly, the fans that have been so kind to me. I’ve always gone out of my way to be extra nice to the fans because they’ve always made me feel good. I appreciate their support and I really want to do well for them.

(BG)

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Teila Tuli's Tooth- January 13, 2009 at 10:00 am
Suddenly Shamrock will appear in the crowd with a microphone and some lameass story about how Coleman needs to respect him. A pushing match will ensue and we'll be duped into UFC 98: LEGEND VS. LEGEND.
Tyler- January 11, 2009 at 11:47 pm
Coleman's going to get knocked on his fucking ASS then afterwards when Joe Rogan is interviewing a victorious Shogun, Coleman will grab the microphone and promise the crowd he'll be back and that he's not done!
Babalu- January 10, 2009 at 7:42 pm
The caption for that pic should be something along the lines:

GET OUUUUUUTTT!!

He's cumming again!
KTFO- January 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm
Hey Mark remember when you tried to jump the ropes in Pride and fell on your ass? Watching that video makes me as happy as a little girl.
AussieJosh- January 10, 2009 at 3:37 am
No disrespect to the greats but Colman just like Nog and Randy and maybe chuck now....are done. its time to step aside hang the gloves up and let the new guys come in. Or at least start an old timers UFC.
Shogun on the other hand....if he has recoverd from all major injureys could be a massive add to the already very strong 205 div!
tkb- January 9, 2009 at 7:27 pm
coleman really oughta pack it in before he gets hurt. he had his day, received his props and now he needs to retire.
tkb- January 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm
i bet coleman wishes he took you up on your kind offer now that he's all washed up and shit.
Zach Mac- January 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm
True story, i was in the marines in okinawa japan from 2004-06 and used to go to fights they had at kadena air force base and the okinawa civic center every once in a while. On 11/13/2005 there was an event call ryukyu fight night and Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman were supposed to have an exhibition grappling match on the card. Well, i guess Randleman got hurt and Coleman was giving a interview to a japanese reporter, so my friends and i waited for the interview to finish so we could meet him. i walked up and introduced myself and asked him what happened to the grappling match between himself and Randleman. Coleman said that Randleman hurt his shoulder and it was off, i replied "that sucks" and since i was drinking that night i must have slurred or something because Mark Coleman got all in my face yelling "DID YOU JUST SAY BUTTSEX?!?!?!" i guess that touched a nerve with him big time. i will admit that i got a little intimidated and the only thing i could say was "i never said anything about butt-sex sir!" and tried to back away while Coleman was spitting in my face yelling at me saying something like "THATS WHAT I THOUGHT!" His friend or trainer or whoever got in between us telling Coleman to chill out and he told me it was probably a good idea to take off. i took his advice and turned around to my two buddies i went with rolling on the floor laughing at me for telling Mark Coleman butt-sex.

I hope Shogun kicks his ass.
ksgbobo- January 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm
Great interview CP. Thanks.
C-Bus Allstar- January 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm
I met Mark Coleman once at a Hammer House sponsored cage fight event in Lancaster, Ohio.. He really is a pretty cool dude.. Bigger than he looks online, wayy fucking bigger.. Or at least he was huge at the time I met him.. Really nice guy though.
Sneaky Pete- January 9, 2009 at 10:12 am
He'll have no problem making weight. He's going to use the "Sherk Shrink" method and just lay off the juice a bit. He'll come in at 205 AND his testicles will return to their normal size.


I'll pick Rua by groin strikes.
Anonymous- January 9, 2009 at 9:54 am
and don't forget:

How big is your penis?

Has it ever been accidently ripped off during training?

Can I smell your underwear?

What's the average wind speed of a Hawaiin swallow?
TUF Guy- January 9, 2009 at 9:45 am
Would you rather get hit by a car going 35mph or get f*cked by a dog?
I'VE BEEN FUCKED BY A DOG. IT WAS YOUR MOM.

************************

did she use a dildo or a broomstick on u?
TUF Guy Is A Homophobe- January 9, 2009 at 9:38 am
Mark Coleman Responds

Did you ever cheat on your wife?
YEA, BUT ONLY WITH MEN.

If you could choke someone to death without going to prison who would it be?
FEDOR. HE BEAT ME TWICE.

How much money do you make?
MORE THAN YOU.

How much debt do you have?
NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Did you ever get aroused wrestling with other guys?
YEA, BUT IT'S NATURAL.

What drugs did you try?
I DON'T TRY, I USE.

Did you ever catch your parents getting it on?
IF YOU REPLACE THE FIRST "C" WITH A "W" IN CATCH, THAN YEA.

Were you ever molested by your aunt when you were 7 in the toolshed behind your cousins cabin?
YEA, BUT I WAS OK WITH IT.

Did you like getting molested?
I DIDN'T HATE IT.

Did you go into fighting because you never stood a chance with a job that requires
reading and/or writing?
NO, I GOT INTO FIGHTING BECAUSE PUSSIES LIKE YOU CAN'T DO IT.

If you were gay would you rather give or recieve?
FIRST OF ALL, THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY.
SECONDLY, I WOULD DO BOTH.

Are you gay?
IF I AM, SO IS YOUR DAD.

Would you rather get hit by a car going 35mph or get f*cked by a dog?
I'VE BEEN FUCKED BY A DOG. IT WAS YOUR MOM.

Eric- January 9, 2009 at 9:11 am
I like Coleman's chances in this fight. If Shogun comes in the same as he did in the Griffin fight, it's going to be a second round GNP stoppage.
TUF Guy- January 9, 2009 at 9:02 am
There interviews are so boring, it's alway the same stuff. "um yea I am ready to go, I've been training, I think I'll win, my injuries healed" Why don't you make the interview more exciting and stop asking the same questions over and over again. Just think about how many people have asked him how his training is going.

Here are some questions for future interviews:

Did you ever cheat on your wife?

If you could choke someone to death without going to prison who would it be?

How much money do you make?

How much debt do you have?

Did you ever get aroused wrestling with other guys?

What drugs did you try?

Did you ever catch your parents getting it on?

Were you ever molested by your aunt when you were 7 in the toolshed behind your cousins cabin?

Did you like getting molested?

Did you go into fighting because you never stood a chance with a job that requires
reading and/or writing?

If you were gay would you rather give or recieve?

Are you gay?

Would you rather get hit by a car going 35mph or get f*cked by a dog?


Just mix it up next time, don't waste time with these rediculously BORING questions. This interview would but an insomniac out for a week straight.
Teila Tuli's Tooth- January 9, 2009 at 8:41 am
Hiding in Gerard's foot...
teila tuli- January 9, 2009 at 8:39 am
there u are
Teila Tuli's Tooth- January 9, 2009 at 8:28 am
Great interview guys! I actually got to meet mark last year in March. I ran into him at some bar in Columbus, the Friday night before he got inducted. He was hanging out with Wes Sims. He was a very down to earth humble guy. I'm really curious to see what he's going to look like at 205.

Anonymous- January 9, 2009 at 8:27 am
Great interview guys! I actually got to meet mark last year in March. I ran into him at some bar in Columbus, the Friday night before he got inducted. He was hanging out with Wes Sims. He was a very down to earth humble guy. I'm really curious to see what he's going to look like at 205.
mayhem420- January 9, 2009 at 8:04 am
OBI...
Seeing as how Wandy needs a win that might be a good way to give him one.
As much as I like Mark from the early UFC days I just dont see him being that competative anymore. If Shogun shows up in shape I could see him pulling off a sub from guard.
enciende- January 9, 2009 at 8:03 am
Lets hope that Shogun crushes him
Jeffro- January 9, 2009 at 7:50 am
I don't think he'll make weight. Yeah, he's a wrestler, but he hasn't had to cut weight in a long time. I am glad to see him back in the octagon, but I think Shogun will have something to prove.
Douchebaggery- January 9, 2009 at 7:48 am
Shogun with a quick tko
mike`- January 9, 2009 at 7:47 am
hey great interview. cant wait for the fight. you guys are getting a lot of exclusives lately.
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