Mark “The Hammer” Coleman has always been the type of man that likes to carve his own path in life, that’s why the UFC hall of famer made a conscious choice to turn his back on his doubters when they told him that he was finished. That he was past his prime. All washed up.
And it’s a good thing he did, as the forty-five year old former NCAA champion wrestler recently gave millions of “Over the Hill” fathers everywhere something to believe in with a convincing unanimous decision victory over the much younger Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100.
“I don’t get up on the Internet very often, but when I do there are a lot of haters, a lot of bashers, and a lot of people that say I should have retired ten years ago,” said Coleman during a recent conversation with Rear Naked Radio. “If I would have listened to all the people out there, I would have retired. They told me I was washed up back in 2000.”
With that being said, Coleman had already determined in his heart of hearts that a loss in his most recent bout with “The American Psycho” would undoubtedly spell the end of the legend.
“I had kind of determined that if I lost to [Stephan] Bonnar that it would be my last fight in the UFC, so I knew it was win or go home,” revealed Coleman.
But Coleman won, and instead of going home, “The Hammer” recently made the trip out to Las Vegas to prepare for what is likely to be a shot at the championship when he faces off with Randy “The Natural” Couture this Saturday evening during UFC 109.
It’s no secret as to what Coleman’s bread and butter in the Octagon happens to be; He didn’t earn the nickname “The Godfather of Ground and Pound” by dazzling fans with somersault crescent shin kicks to the chin. No, Mark is known for depositing his victims on the canvas and proceeding to clobber away at their face and carcass with reckless abandon. And while it should come as no surprise if this bout with Couture ends up on the ground, Coleman feels confident he will be forced out of his strong point for some portion of time tomorrow evening.
“I’ve always wanted to stand and trade but my instincts have always overtaken my game plan.,” admitted the former Olympian. “I’ve always wanted to stand and trade with other guys, but it seems like when I get out there my instincts are just too powerful and I just can’t help but to go for the takedown. I have been working my stand up game and I’ve done very well in practice over the years.
“I just can’t resist the temptation to shoot in on the leg. It’s just in my genes; It’s in my blood. My coaches are pretty confident in my stand up ability as well; I just need to go out there and pull the trigger. I never go out there and pull the trigger. The legs always seem like they’re right there in front of me, and to go ahead and grab them, but I don’t think that will be the case this time.
“I do anticipate [Randy] being able to stop my takedowns, and I do anticipate that there will be some stand up action out there.”
With both men’s strong points lying largely in the same areas, Coleman has no doubt that this bout will come down to two very primal points in what promises to be the most significant bout in his illustrious fighting career: Nuts and guts.
“It’s going to come down to who wants it more, who trained the hardest, who’s prepared properly, who’s got the nuts, who’s got the heart, and who wants to win it the most,” said Coleman. “I look at this fight like it’s going to be a war. I’m going to have to suck it up, stay mentally tough, and I’m going to have to take the win from [Randy]. You don’t want to leave it in the judges hands, but if I do leave it in the judges hands, I want to make sure that I’m way ahead on the scorecards.
“I’m sure we both want this fight really bad, but it’s about who’s going to suck it up. Who’s going to suck it up out there; Who’s got the nuts, who’s got the guts, and who’s going to pull out the victory. I say we both want it just as bad. It means a lot to me. [A win] would definitely change my financial situation around, but it doesn’t matter. Wit Randy Couture, sure the money helps, but he just wants to be a champion still. That’s what I admire about the guy. He’s not in it just for the money, he wants to be a winner, he wants to be a champion, and he wants to go out on top. I feel the same way. I’m still looking for respect. I’m still looking to prove things to the fans, fighters and reporters.”