by Tom Call, article compiled by Damon Martin
Mark Coleman: Coming To America
It seems like such a long time ago that fans in the United States were able to see former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman fight on his home soil but that looks to become a reality, possibly by years end. After defeating Pride middleweight Grand Prix champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in February of this year, Coleman has been working to get himself the best deal possible to help him end his career on a high note.
Currently the former Ohio State wrestler and first ever Pride Grand Prix champion is weighing his decision as to where he may end up. Coleman is currently a free agent with no contract to any organization, including Pride where he has spent the last 6+ years fighting.
“I wish I knew right now,” said Coleman about the next place he might fight. “Right now my brain is scrambled with decisions to make. Pride or UFC, which one? I’ve got offers from both of them and I’m trying to figure out what’s going to be best for my future.”
With a confirmed offer from his former employers at the UFC on the table and Coleman’s recent resignation from coaching a team for the rival IFL organization, one can only wonder if the once champion is destined to return to the Octagon, the place where he started his career.
While Coleman has been content performing for the fans in Japan for the last few years, its his desire to return to America and compete to close out his career.
“In the States, I’m fighting in the States. I’m fighting in the States, period,” said Coleman very emphatically. “I’m coming back to the States and if that’s one thing that Pride offers me because they are now coming to America and I’ve got to come back here and fight before I’m done. I’m tired of answering the question ‘when are you coming back?’ I don’t know if people mean when am I coming back to fighting, a lot of people don’t even know I’ve been fighting the last 7 or 8 years. Or ‘when are you coming back to the UFC or America?’ I’ve definitely got to get back here because I’m tired of answering that question.”
Injecting Coleman into a fairly shallow pool of fighters that the UFC currently has at heavyweight could bring new life to the division. Coleman was a founder and fierce practitioner of the “ground and pound” style that is used by virtually every fighter at some point, and the UFC could instantly tout Coleman in that weight class. A couple of wins and he would be very much in contention for a title shot, where as in Pride, with the stack of heavyweights ahead of him, including the top three of Fedor Emeilianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Mirko CroCop who all have wins over Coleman, he would be muddled in the middle of the pack.
“I’m going to fight back here in the States before I’m done and I’m not done for a while,” said Coleman about his future.
Now its just a matter of time before the Ohio native makes his decision and returns to fight on U.S. soil, the only question remaining will it be for the UFC or Pride?