Eye On The Prize: Ken Shamrock Discusses Kimbo Fight
Living legend Ken Shamrock has a golden opportunity to extend his career in a major way if he can take care of business against Kimbo on October 4. In this interview, Ken Shamrock discusses the tricky assignment of taking on the much ballyhooed man from Miami which will be televised by CBS…
MMAMemories.com: Listening to the conference call you and Kimbo did two weeks ago, it seemed kind of interesting how Kimbo said a few times how losing to you – of your reputation and renown – wouldn’t be such a bad thing. It’s kind of odd to hear that kind of attitude in boxing or MMA. Maybe is he paying you respect? Did you notice that?
Ken Shamrock: “Yeah, I did. And I don’t read that much into that because he’s a young fighter. He’s probably getting a lot of heat from getting pushed as big as he is. He’s probably getting a lot of heat. He’s probably just – I don’t know – damage control? Let everybody know that he’s humble. I don’t know. I wouldn’t go in that direction. I’d definitely be a lot more confident than that.”
MMAMemories.com: Describe your emotions when you landed this high-profile match opportunity.
Ken Shamrock: “My emotions were, when I first heard about it, were, DON’T LOSE THIS ONE. GET IT DONE. I knew this was a good fight for me.”
MMAMemories.com: What will most concern you about the Kimbo arsenal?
Ken Shamrock: “Well I think the most important thing is with somebody like Kimbo, you tend to see all his flaws. But you don’t recognize his strengths because you see things that he’s done and you’re like, Wow, he’s not that good. The thing is that you gotta realize is, if you drop your guard and he hits you, you’re gonna go down. So he’s a dangerous fighter. And I have to take him seriously. If I don’t and I make a mistake, that could be a short night for me.”
MMAMemories.com: Were you surprised that they picked you?
Ken Shamrock: “I knew that they were trying to find a good fight for Kimbo. A fight that would put him over. But they knew that they had to be very careful because, if somebody was gonna beat him then it needed to be somebody that they could still promote. And still keep their show going. So they had to cycle through and find what would be the best opponent, so that if Kimbo gets beat, they’re okay. And so they chose me and I’m very happy that they did because I think it was probably one of the best moves they could have made for their organization. Because, I mean, you know what man? Hey, I’m a draw. People love to watch me fight. I love to fight for people. And it shows. So, therefore, after I beat Kimbo, they’re not gonna have a hard time selling tickets.”
MMAMemories.com: Does Kimbo compare or remind you of any of your previous opponents?
Ken Shamrock: “He reminds me a lot of Kimo. Where he has potential – but I think he lacks discipline.”
MMAMemories.com: How is training going, how is the body feeling?
Ken Shamrock: “My body feels great. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. It’s just a wonderful feeling when you go and you train and you see results from your training. Rather than, you train and you’re irritated, your body’s not recovering because of some injuries. It’s just a good feeling when you train and your body’s actually responding to it.”
MMAMemories.com: What is it going to take for to come out the victor with your hand raised in this fight vs. Kimbo, do you believe?
Ken Shamrock: “I think it just takes me, just make sure that I stay focused, I stick to the game-plan. And I take the fight to him.”
MMAMemories.com: Of all your fights Ken, what would you say were the finest performances of your career when you were at your very best?
Ken Shamrock: “Well, there’s a couple of ’em. I think memorable moments, ones that will always be remembered and ones you could never take away – those are probably my finest ones. And I would say the first time in Japan when they held the two-day tournament to crown the first King of Pankration tournament. And it was a two-day tournament and I fought guys from Brazil, Holland, Australia and Japan. And I won that. And they crowned me the first champion of that organization. And that’s something that will never go away. I will always be the first crowned foreign champion in that Pancrase organization over in Japan.
“The second one that probably ranks right up there with this one – in UFC where they held the super-fights belt, the very first single fight championship before they had tournaments and you never knew who was going to win it because you could come up hurt or you had an easier bracket, so they came up with the single fight – super-fight they called it. And I was the very first MMA heavyweight champion of the world in the United States. The very first one. No one will ever take that away.”
MMAMemories.com: Who was the toughest man you ever faced?
Ken Shamrock: “I’d have to say Masakatsu Funaki because he was the one that trained me. I worked with him quite a bit over in Japan. And it seemed like whenever I fought him he was always like one-step ahead of me. I think we fought five times, I beat him three out of the five times. But he always kinda knew what I was doing. So it was very, very difficult to train for him because, obviously, he kinda taught me everything I knew pretty much. It was a tough time to get in there and fight him because there was nothing I was gonna show him that was new.”
MMAMemories.com: Andre Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson, why can your man Nelson win this fight?
Ken Shamrock: “Because he has better ground skills than Arlovski. And his stand-up is comparable to Arlovski.”
MMAMemories.com: Are you very impressed by Fedor? What do you think of him? Is he the real deal? Almost unbeatable?
Ken Shamrock: “He’s the real deal. And I think there’s gonna be another year, probably another six months, someone will beat him. That’s just the way it is. But he’s definitely the real deal. Him and that 145-pounder from Sacramento…Urijah Faber. Faber and Fedor are definitely two of the guys right now that are dominating their weight classes.”
MMAMemories.com: What is it that makes Fedor so effective? Why are you so impressed by him?
Ken Shamrock: “I just think because of the way he’s built. He’s not like a huge, humongous man. But yet he’s like a tank, he’s built like a tank. He moves – he’s not real fast but he moves fast enough. His moves are methodical, he’s smooth. He comes with solid punches, he’s got good power. I mean, just everything about him – it’s sharp. And I think that his strongest asset is that he’s not rattled. The guy can go in there and he’s calm as calm. He knows what he’s gonna do. And no matter what people say or do or whoever he’s facing, he never changes. He knows what he has to do and he goes in there and gets it done.”
MMAMemories.com: Who can possibly beat him? You say in six months or a year it might happen.
Ken Shamrock: “Yeah, you know, the one guy in Japan that just beat Cro Cop a little while ago, kicked him in the groin (Alistair Overeem).”
MMAMemories.com: And last question, Ken. Fantasy fight – a primed Ken Shamrock when you won the Pankration heavyweight title in ’94 vs. this version of Fedor – who wins?
Ken Shamrock: “No doubt I win. Because there’s one thing with it all being equal – because I was very strong for my size – and I was very quick. And that would be the difference – is my quickness.”
MMAMemories: Thanks a lot Ken, take care of business.
Ken Shamrock: “You know it.”