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Ken Shamrock's message to critics: 'I'm better than I was 15 years ago'

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Ken Shamrock has not been deaf to the critics. He knows what many people are saying about his matchup with Kimbo Slice.

Shamrock is a legend of MMA, but he's 51 years old now and has not fought since 2010. His last win over a name? Maybe 11 years ago against Kimo Leopoldo. You have to go back a decade earlier to find a victory over a strong opponent.

But "The World'sMost Dangerous Man" wants people to know that he has no aspirations for a Bellator title. He just wants to whoop Slice, the man he was supposed to fight seven years ago, and have a good time doing it at Bellator 138 on June 20 in St. Louis.

"I'm not looking to be a contender," Shamrock told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I'm not looking to do anything other than have fun and be able to take fights that are entertaining to me and that are marketable and entertaining to the fans. To me, if those things line up, then I'm gonna do it. This happened to be one of them that kind of fell in my lap, so I said let's do this."

The Slice fight is important to Shamrock, but not for the reasons people think. There are those that believe that Shamrock ducked Slice in 2008 when they were supposed to fight in Elite XC on CBS. On Oct. 4 of that year, Shamrock suffered a cut and Slice fought Petruzelli instead.

We all know what happened next -- the unheralded Petruzelli, a member of Shamrock's Lions Den team, knocked out Slice in 14 seconds. With a jab. Slice's MMA stock plummeted and Elite XC folded shortly after.

Shamrock (28-15-2) said he tried to get the fight with Slice after that, but his team turned it down.

"I really felt like, you know what? I'm gonna shut this guy up," Shamrock said. "Well, they didn't take the fight. They said I wasn't worth it. A lot more things were said. It really pissed me off."

The Reno native calls the beliefs that he cut himself to avoid the fight "conspiracy theories."

"It was an opportunity for me to go in there and beat this guy, which I believe everybody and myself knows I can do and that it wouldn't have been that difficult for me to do that," Shamrock said. "If you look at the opportunity I had there, why in the world would I lose that opportunity?"

Shamrock isn't a big fan of Slice. He credits the former YouTube street fighter for his innate marketability, but says he has "absolutely no history, none whatsoever of beating anybody credible."

"I don't know how you did it," Shamrock said. "But they did a great job making this guy look invincible when the guy had never fought a lick on the ground. It's pretty incredible that he's been able to get this far and gain this much attention and get this much popularity when the guy can't fight on the ground."

As for Shamrock, he said he feels good. He's doing strength and conditioning now in Modesto, Calif., and will go down to San Diego for grappling and sparring at a gym to be determined.

"This is all just talk," Shamrock said. "You hear fighters say it all the time -- 'I feel great.' And they go in there and they crap all over the ring. You just go, well, here we go again. So, it doesn't matter what I say. It really doesn't. but what I can do is, I have the opportunity to go in there and be able to show what I'm talking about and how I feel. That's all I'm asking for."

Shamrock doesn't hold any delusions of grandeur here. He seems to understand what this is all about, saying Slice gets ratings and that's why the fight is happening.

"He aged just like I did," Shamrock said. "We both are out of our prime. I'm doing this because I love it. I want to get in there and fight. I feel great. I believe that I could put on a great show and I believe that I'm better than I was 15 years ago."

Around that time, Shamrock was in the UFC fighting for the light heavyweight title. Since 2002, he only has three victories in 12 fights. The MMA pioneer already knows what the pundits will say -- he's just asking for a chance to change their minds.

"They've gotta be the same people," Shamrock said, "that step up and say, 'We were completely wrong about this guy. He was in shape. He whipped his ass. Man, we've gotta give him his props.' As long as they're OK doing that, if they want to open their mouths before the fight and they want to say those types of things, I've got no problem with that."

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