In a wide-ranging interview with Dave Farra of Raw Vegas TV, former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman talked about his upcoming fight with Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100, his thoughts on light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, why he'd be a better fighter if head butts were allowed in MMA, and his desire to step into the Octagon with Kimbo Slice.
Coleman said that of all the rules changes that have taken place in his 13 years as a mixed martial artist, the one that most hampered his ability to win fights was the banning of head butts, which he said were a perfect complement to his ground-and-pound style. But Coleman also acknowledged that for the sport to gain popular acceptance, head butts needed to be eliminated.
Discussing his conditioning, and how exhausted he looked late in his last fight, against Shogun Rua in January, Coleman said he's working hard at Xtreme Couture -- which just happens to be Bonnar's gym as well.
"I've been trying to avoid people he trains with and he's trying to avoid people I train with," Coleman said. "So far we haven't crossed paths."
Coleman said he considers Bonnar a tough opponent, and an opponent he's going to need to beat on the ground, and not on his feet.
"He's a very tough guy," Coleman said of Bonnar. "I would like to show my stand-up skills, but I have to be smart ... I have to stick to the game plan, ground and pound. That's what I do best. If I'm in shape I will ground and pound his ass. ... I'm motivated like I haven't been for a long time."
Coleman offered a glowing assessment of Machida, saying they worked out together four years ago and that Coleman could see why Machida's style is so effective. But Coleman is not so impressed by Ultimate Fighter Season 10 cast member Kimbo Slice.
"I think he's going to get his butt handed to him in there, but I could be wrong," Coleman said. "I would love to fight Kimbo. He's not that big of a guy, really. I don't consider him a heavyweight. He's not big enough."
Some MMA fans have suggested that Coleman's appearance at UFC 100 could be his swan song, but Coleman said that even at age 44, he doesn't expect to quit any time soon.
"I'd like to still be fighting in five years," Coleman said. "If I'm healthy, I'll still be fighting."