Exclusive Kimbo Slice Interview
On Saturday night, former internet phenom Kimbo Slice will face the dangerous striker Houston Alexander on The Ultimate Fighter finale under-card.
Slice was the main reason people tuned into the series this season as people were dying to know whether the bearded brawler was the real deal. UFC boss Dana White had previously rubbished Kimbo’s abilities as an MMA athlete, but in a shrewd move, invited Slice to compete with his heavyweights to settle the matter once and for all.
Kimbo didn’t exactly impress with his performance on the show, losing by stoppage to the eventual finalist Roy Nelson. But it was clear from all the training footage and interviews that he was a real fighter – willing to put it all on the line, willing to learn and eager to prove he wasn’t a hyped up internet creation. He stood his ground against experienced fighters, and proved that he did belong.
I spoke to Kimbo yesterday, and asked him how he had evolved as a fighter from being on the show.
“It’s all mental,” he told me. “That’s what I’ve learnt, to keep more mental control over myself.”
But in terms of his style, you won’t be seeing anything dramatically different.
“My style is pretty much the same, it hasn’t changed too much,” he said.
“I’ve added a little ground game here and there, but I like to stand up and bang, you know, knock someone out, or be knocked out. And that’s what you get with me.”
And that’s why Dana is giving him such a high profile bout against another banger in Houston Alexander. Dana White is notoriously ruthless about his business model. If you don’t come to fight, you don’t get a gig with the UFC. And Slice definitely comes to fight.
“It’s business. It’s all business,” said Slice of his relationship with Dana. “Dana’s good. He’s a promoter, and I’m a fighter. Put us two together and you’re going to get something good out of it.”
It is however, unclear whether Slice really can compete at the highest level of MMA.
Houston Alexander is a vulnerable, but deadly striker with knock out power in both his hands and feet. He is coming up in weight to fight Kimbo, but given his experience and concussive striking, it looks like an even fight on paper. It will be a good test for Kimbo, and if he can look good, he may have a future at the UFC.
“When I started bumping, I wasn’t bumping with the guys that fight in the UFC,” he said when asked about his jump in class. “I was bumping to make some change ya know, to make some money.”
And if you’re going to fight for money, according to Slice, you might as well shoot for the UFC:
“When the opportunity came my way to make more money, damn right I’m going to do it.”
Welcome to the big time Kimbo.