As the UFC 156 post-fight formalities wound down in Las Vegas last weekend, a familiar face emerged amongst the crowd. To the surprise of many, it belonged to Melvin Manhoef. The Dutch-Surinamese powerhouse, long revered as one of the most devastating strikers in the sport, was spotted snapping a photo alongside UFC President Dana White, which of course led to endless speculation about the nature of the pair’s relationship.
While Manhoef refuted the notion that he was the UFC’s latest free agent pickup during an appearance on this week’s edition of The MMA Hour, he gushed about the prospect when asked if he hoped to be fighting inside the Octagon soon.
“Who wouldn’t?” Manhoef bluntly responded. “I think everybody would want to be fighting in the UFC, because [it's] one of the biggest organizations at the moment. I’m a fighter and I want to entertain people, so for me it’d be nice to fight in the UFC. If the chance is there, I’m going to do it, 100-percent.”
When and if that opportunity arises, Manhoef will be waiting. But for now, the 36-year-old continues to shop his services to international promotions — he has a ONE FC fight tentatively slated for April 5, 2013 — while serving as a last-minute training partner for Lyoto Machida at the acclimated Blackhouse gym, located along the sunny coast of San Diego, CA.
Although he is hesitant to commit to a permanent move to the United States, Manhoef’s recent exploits led him to an important conclusion. A decorated kickboxer and veteran mixed martial artist, it became clear that Manhoef finally needed to stop splitting his focus between the two sports in order to make one last push into the upper echelon of MMA.
(Photo: Daniel Herbertson, MMA Fighting)