Slice said his Bellator 138 main event against Shamrock on June 19 in St. Louis will not just be a one-off return to the sport. In his mind, this is just the start of another run.
"He would be the fight I would want the most," Slice said at a recent media day in Los Angeles. "That was just a door opener to get back in to fight whoever else in the heavyweight division with Bellator. I don't think any heavyweight would be safe, because I'm coming to fight them all."
Slice, 41, has not fought in an MMA fight since 2010 when he was finished by Matt Mitrione via TKO at UFC 113. Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, wasn't a complete mixed martial artist then, but he swears by his current training at American Top Team. The former YouTube streetfighting star believes he has a lot more to give.
"This is not a one-off for me," Slice said. "I'm still active. I'm loving where I'm at right now. With age, I've gotten wiser, gotten smarter with my training. I'm at ATT with the best, some of the best guys in the world. We're in bed with Bellator."
Slice said he still held the passion for MMA, even when he was boxing, a sport in which he has accumulated a 7-0 record. There were times when Slice would see an opening for a kick in the ring, he said, but he couldn't throw it. Still, he wasn't sure if he would ever come back to MMA until Bellator wooed him with Shamrock.
"It did come with the opportunity to fight Ken," Slice said. "My passion grew tremendously. Not just training to be training, but then it was training for revenge now."
The two men were supposed to meet at EliteXC: Heat in 2008, but Shamrock sustained a cut the day of the fight and had to pull out. The rest is infamous in MMA lore. Slice fought Seth Petruzelli, a Shamrock disciple, and was knocked out with a jab in the first round. EliteXC, which had built its promotion around Slice and his cult stardom, fell apart and Slice went on to the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter reality show and failed.
Slice (4-2) wanted a piece of Shamrock then and that's brought him back from boxing and semi-retirement.
"I hope they put him in a padded room so nothing happens to him considering his history of weaseling out of things," Slice said. "That's all I'm hoping for. If there was an opportunity for him to [win] the first time, it would have been back then when my ground game wasn't as sharp as it is now, when I had no defense for takedowns. I just had my brute strength and my ability to throw hand and throw punches by the bunches. Now I have all these dimensions that I'm working with and working on and been working on. There is just no way I see myself losing this fight to Ken Shamrock."
Shamrock, a UFC Hall of Famer and pioneer of MMA, has fired off plenty of trash talk toward Slice for being one-dimensional and not being a real mixed martial artist. Slice has heard it and pays it no mind.
"A little, but not enough to where you would foolishly run out there and just get caught in something," Slice said. "It's part of his game plan. It's like a psychology thing.
"He's a fool if he believes it. Most people believe their own sh*t."
Slice, at 41, is actually the young man in the contest. Shamrock is 51 years old, also has not fought since 2010 and hasn't won a significant fight in more than a decade. Neither man is in their athletic prime nor will they be getting a title shot any time soon. And Bellator isn't trying to sell it that way. Slice understands that.
"I never was that guy to just want to fight a guy just because," Slice said. "People like that just have chips on their shoulders and they try to pull something. The sport of the game, the matchmakers, you put them together and you put them together right. And that's a great show."
That's the hope for Bellator on June 19 when they pit together two very well-known names who have a heated history with one another. Slice thinks he knows which way it will go, even if he'll be the underdog.
"I never stressed that part of it to the point like damn I'm the underdog again," Slice said. "If there's good money behind it, hell I'll bet on myself if I can. I'll put a grand on myself being a 10-to-1 underdog. Sh*t. First-round KO."