Las Vegas, NV — Mark Coleman won both UFC 10 and UFC 11 before becoming the promotion’s inaugural heavyweight champion, but it’s the younger generation he’s focused on now.
These days, “The Hammer” is very much a fan of mixed martial arts, like the rest of us — and it’s the man he still coaches who Coleman is the biggest fan of.
“I’m a big time fan, boy. I love all the champions,” Coleman told Cageside Press during an exclusive interview at UFC X during International Fight Week. “I’ve been following the sport since I left very closely. Conor McGregor, if I seen him right now, I would cut you off and run over and get a picture with this guy. All the GOATs, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, Israel Adesanya, Khabib’s gone, I love that weight class, 155. All the champs. And Matt ‘The Immortal’ Brown is my favorite, because I’m still coaching him, and he’s still in there knocking people out.”
Brown is doing just that, tying Derrick Lewis for the promotion’s knockout record recently. Coleman, for one, wants the UFC to make a big fight for Brown to potentially become the company’s KO king.
“He’s looking to get back in there. Give him a big name UFC, give Matt Brown a big name so he can knock somebody out for the 15th time and get that record.”
Given his place in the history of the sport, it’s no surprise that fans and fellow fighters alike cite Mark Coleman among their faves. That sort of respect is something the Ohio native has always sought.
“It’s very, very special. I feel blessed to be a part of this from the beginning. I made it to UFC 109, but being an OG, being at the forefront and now the respect that I get from these fans, that’s kind of what I always wanted as a kid, is respect. And I get respect, I don’t know if I deserve it, but it’s pretty amazing, pretty awesome.”
While the early days of the UFC lacked the production value and mainstream recognition that modern MMA has garnered, Coleman always believed it would become something bigger.
“I do understand how far it has come now,” Coleman told us. “I always visualized it getting this way. Even UFC 10 when I was walking out, after I won UFC 10, I visualized it being the greatest sport in this world, because I knew I wasn’t the only one that loved this sh*t. I knew there was millions and millions, and everybody loves fighting.”
Watch our full interview with UFC Hall of Fame member Mark Coleman above.