The fight game is an odd thing.
Only in the world of combative sport could a fighter like Kimbo Slice—a rank amateur in nearly all areas—take a losing effort in a Youtube video and turn that into a career in professional MMA, spin that into a failed bid on The Ultimate Fighter and upon exodus from the UFC become a professional boxer who is gaining more attention day-by-day.
Talk about making the most of what you’ve got.
Slice isn’t the only MMA fighter to ever try his hand in the boxing ring: Jens Pulver made the transition for a period of time, even if it was really only in the spirit of exploration, and he didn’t do too bad.
No matter how we, as fans, feel about fighters from one sport crossing over, it is going to start to happen more and more.
Teddy Atlas, the color commentator for one of Pulver’s fights, had this to say about the sport of MMA:
There’s nothing that makes up for that experience of being in the amateurs than being a fighter. But, ultimate fighting comes pretty close. Getting in that ring, dealing with that pressure, dealing with that fear…Confronting those two things, being able to, being forced to be disciplined under those kinds of conditions…Wrestling, also—real wrestling: high school wrestling, college wrestling—that helps a lot. First of all, you’ve got to be very disciplined. Second of all, you’ve got to be smart. Wrestlers just don’t go in there and grab somebody, throw them to the ground. You’ve gotta know movement, gotta use your range, you have to face one-on-one competition. Not a bad way to get ready for boxing.
Atlas ended by saying that MMA and boxing are “close second cousins.”
And he couldn’t be more correct.
As MMA continues to grow, some of its best fighters have looked to the sport of boxing and made it openly known that they think they could step into the squared circle and topple those kings.
Junior dos Santos said that he felt he could defeat the Klitschko brothers in a boxing bout, while other MMA fighters of note, such as Nick Diaz, were looking at boxing matches against men such as Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy.
Diaz, no stranger to the sport of boxing, has acted as a sparring partner for Andre Ward in the past. But the difference between sparring and a real fight is as vast as the Grand Canyon.
But it does beg the question: “Who could make the transition to boxing with any kind of success?”
Here’s a list of ten MMA fighters who could do it…maybe.