Can Houston Alexander make it back?
Just a few years ago, Alexander exploded into the UFC with lightning fast wins over both Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara. However, almost as quickly, Alexander disappeared from the major MMA scene.
Following a streak of consecutive UFC losses to Thiago Silva, James Irvin and Alessio Sakara, Alexander was in a must-win bout with Kimbo Slice.
Alexander’s matchup was envisioned as a high-impact slugfest with the better brawler winning. The fight did not turn out that way. Slice defeated Alexander by unanimous decision in a somewhat lethargic bout.
The bout was the only one of Slice’s fights to go to the scorecards.
“If I could go back and do it again,” Alexander told Bleacher Report, “I’d probably do it differently. People expected two gorillas to go at it and pound on each other’s chest. He had a strategy. I had a strategy.”
Regardless, Alexander was not in complete agreement with judges’ decision.
“I guess some of the judges don’t count kicks. It is what it is.”
With the loss, Alexander was dismissed from the UFC. Now, two years, five fights, and three wins (one no-contest) later, Alexander continues his road back. In just a few days, Alexander is set to take on another former UFC fighter, Razak Al-Hassan.
The fight will be featured on this Saturday’s MMA Fight Pit: Genesis card. The show will be available on pay-per-view starting at 9 p.m. EST and 6 p.m. PST.
“It’s a great matchup,” Alexander said of the bout with Hassan. “Guy likes to strike. I like to strike. I like to kick. He likes to kick. It’s going to be a great match up for both of us.”
Alexander is familiar with Hassan’s past.
“It’s good to see him develop like he has,” Alexander said. “He was one of those up and comers that I saw in Omaha.”
Omaha is where Alexander became a very busy fighter.
“I’ve probably had 200 unsanctioned fights between here and there,” Alexander said about the early part of this career. “I’ve fought five people in the same night, and I fought once a week for almost two years straight.”
The idea of participating in that many unsanctioned fights appears to be a very eerie proposition. Alexander was not worried about it.
“Exact same rules,” Alexander said, when asked what the differences between sanctioned and unsanctioned were. “Being in an unsanctioned fight means your record is not updated. It was one knockout after another. A lot of them lasted under a minute.”
Alexander has a simple explanation for his underground success.
“People don’t like being punched in the face,” the man nicknamed the Assassin said. “I don’t mind it. It wakes me up. I know it’s ‘go time.’ Retaliation is a must.”
The upcoming fight with Hassan will mark Alexander’s fifth since leaving the UFC. All five have been with different organizations.
“It doesn’t matter to me as long as the opponent is a quality opponent,” Alexander said. “It’d be nice to be in one organization, but it’s also nice for me because I get to travel to other parts of the country and other parts of the world.”
“It’s good for me to be a free agent right now because if I sign with any organization right now it’s going to be for big money.”
If Alexander had his choice of future opponents, one fighter quickly comes to the top of the list. “The Sandman” James Irvin.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t get to fight James Irvin again,” Alexander said about the potential rematch in March 2011.
Irvin won the first bout in just eight seconds.
The second bout was canceled just a week prior to the fight when Irvin was suspended for a positive steroid test. The failure was Irvin’s second offense.
“The guy has to cheat people to beat them, so he has to use steroids,” Alexander said of Irvin.
Alexander, though, did stop short of saying the Irvin was using performance enhancing drugs in the first fight back in April 2008.
“I don’t know. I can’t say that,” Alexander said. “I never should be in that position (to lose the fight). Whether he used or not, I should never have been in that position.”
“Using steroids is like a quick fix. It’s like that stuff for your tires.”
However, should Alexander be victorious over Hassan and receive an offer to rejoin the world’s top MMA promotion, he would definitely embrace the opportunity.
“UFC is the epitome of MMA,” said Alexander. “There’s only one MMA organization that I know of that gets on ESPN. ESPN is the Mecca of all sports. You want to get the recognition.”
As for the upcoming Hassan fight, Alexander will believes he will impress the crowd.
“I’m going after the guy, being aggressive. I predict I’m winning the fight, and I’m not trying to take it to the judges.”