8 April 2008
By Jon Surtees
David Haye – who has previously said he will not ‘box’ into his 31st year – has given the given indication of what could be next in his career – Mixed Martial Arts.
With his move to Heavyweight currently being planned – and a fight against a world ranked heavyweight looking likely for November – he is rapidly moving through the next phase of his career plan.
However, looking beyond any potential world heavyweight fight Haye said: “In an ideal world, this is what my plan would be – I’ve accomplished one part of my plan, which was to be undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world, once I’m at heavyweight, I’m not going to box into my 31st year.
“You know, I’ve been boxing since the age of 10 years old, 20 years in the game is enough for me. But what I’d like to do then, I’d like to challenge whoever’s regarded as the number one mixed martial arts fighter.
“I’d probably have to train for a year and try and make that fight because I definitely feel that my reactions are good enough – and if I can get my ground game to a reasonable level… Obviously, I’m not going to be able to catch up with these guys who have been doing jiu-jitsu their whole lives.
“Believe it or not, I come from a martial arts background, my father was a karate teacher, so I’ve got good legs. I’ve done judo, so I know what I’m doing. I train at a gym called the Third Space in Piccadilly which has a jiu-jitsu dojo and I get in there from time to time and have a roll around with the guys. They tell me I’m at a decent level, if I put some focus into it and put some time and effort into it… I’m a natural athlete, I can do anything that I want to do and I think that it would be definitely worth my while getting in to do it.
“It’s just another challenge, I like to set myself goals and tasks and definitely fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship would be a real big thing for me and I’d do whatever was required to get that win. I’m a fighter, through and through – any kind of competition. I’d be a big underdog, and I’d actually like that. I like people writing me off.
“I used to fight in the street, I used to be a street fighter, so I’m not a traditional boxer, I’ve done martial arts since the age of three. I might surprise a few people with my ground game.”
The quotes come from an internet mixed martial arts website but have been stood up by Haye’s trainer and manager Adam Booth who revealed that both himself and the Hayemaker have actually had lessons in Brazilian jiu-jitsu – a key component of any mixed martial arts fighter’s skill set.
Booth also revealed that Haye is a huge fan of mixed martial arts but cautioned against getting carried away with any speculation adding: “David has enough mountains to climb in his boxing career first.”
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