Coleman: From UFC 10 to 100

By Lutfi Sariahmed Jul 10, 2009
When you’ve earned the moniker “The Inventor of Ground and Pound,” it seems only fitting that you’d be on the UFC 100 card. Thirteen years to the month of his debut at UFC 10, Mark Coleman (15-9) will take on Stephan Bonnar on the preliminary card of UFC 100 this Saturday.

“I said back in 1996 I was going to be around for a long time and I meant it,” Coleman said on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown on Monday. “I meant a long time. So I can’t say I foresaw, but I don’t see anything else out there that I like to do. This is a job I love doing and I plan on doing it for a while yet. I’m healthy. I’ve been blessed. And as long as I can stay healthy and can compete, I’m going to keep doing this.”

The Ohio native returned to the UFC in January, dropping down to 205 pounds to fight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 93. The bout earned Fight of the Night honors, but Coleman was stopped with just 24 seconds remaining. The result left the UFC Hall of Famer aggravated over knowing what could have been.

“Not that I didn’t train, I just didn’t train like a champion and it definitely showed,” Coleman said. “It’s very frustrating and disappointing because looking back at it, if I would’ve trained, I feel like I could’ve taken Shogun out. I saw so many openings during that fight that if I had the steam, I feel like I could’ve taken him out and things would be a little different; I wouldn’t be fighting on the undercard right here.”

Coleman isn’t hiding his strategy for the Bonnar bout. His game plan will be the same one he used in his first UFC performance.

“The fight’s definitely going to have to go to the ground,” Coleman said. “I’m looking to forward to standing with somebody one of these days, but with his height and his reach, I’m going to have to play it smart and take him down and use my ground-and-pound game on him. I’m confident I can stay out of his submission holds and get the job done down there.”

Coleman, who will turn 45 in December, has been training with Shawn Tompkins in Las Vegas for the fight. It’s a change he says gives new life to his career.

“The guys I work with out here in Las Vegas have been just great. … I’ve improved drastically on my feet and in all areas, and there’s no reason I can’t compete for the title,” he said. “I still have it in me. I just got to be willing to put in the time and the effort and that’s what I plan on doing.”

It might seem farfetched that the former UFC heavyweight champ could make a title run this late in his career, but Coleman says not to count him out.

“Give me enough time and you never say never,” he said. “I’m going to let my work do the talking. The guys that are working with me, they’re very impressed with my skill level and how I’m able to still learn and pick up things relatively easy, relatively fast. It’s going to take complete dedication and commitment to the sport, but I do feel like I can compete with these guys at 205, yes, I do. No doubt about it.”
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