• UFC 133

I'd get my ass kicked in five seconds in MMA - Hopkins

ESPN staff
August 4, 2011 « Federer rubbishes retirement talk | Chartbeat test »
Bernard Hopkins gives tips to Rashad Evans © Getty Images
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Current WBC light-heavyweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins has confessed he has had to perform an embarrassing U-turn when it comes to MMA.

Hopkins has always been a vocal critic of the sport, saying it is impossible to compare it boxing. He also suggested the sport had homosexual tendencies due to the grappling side of the game.

"I don't want to watch two grown men with panties on, wrestling. I'm from the 'hood," Hopkins once said. "We don't play that. It's not me. To compare the UFC and MMA to boxing is ridiculous. They call that a sport?"

However, Hopkins was present at the open workout sessions on Wednesday ahead of UFC 133, sparring with Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz before posing for photographs. The Executioner is currently the oldest champion in boxing's history, a statistic that demands respect. But now it seems he is willing to pay similar respect to MMA.

"I'm kissing [UFC] butt all the time now," he was quoted as saying by the Philadelphia Daily News.

"James Toney got his butt kicked in, like, 10 seconds [by Randy Couture]. Same thing when Ray Mercer lost to Kimbo Slice. I'd get my butt kicked in maybe five seconds.

"Name a successful boxer who ever beat an MMA guy [under MMA rules]. Hasn't happened. But the MMA guys couldn't beat good boxers under boxing rules. It's two different things."

Hopkins also feels that boxing and MMA can run side-by-side, although he admits the newer sport has stolen a section of boxing's fanbase. "They put 17,000 to 20,000 in there for every show," Hopkins said of the UFC. "That's nothing to sneeze at. How can you knock it? You'd be a fool to try.

"Some of [MMA's popularity] has taken away from boxing, but boxing is a diehard. It's survived everything. It's going to continue to survive. But let's face it, MMA has taken a lot of younger fans. They're wearing those Tapout shirts. You see them everywhere.

"It's like wrestling, but legit. It's the real deal. You're getting punched in the mouth and kicked in the head for real. It's not like guys are biting into a capsule with fake blood in it."

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