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Hatton won't swap boxing for UFC

ESPN staff
January 30, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »

Ricky Hatton believes he could have held his own had he pursued a career in UFC, but has no intention of swapping the ring for the octagon following his retirement from boxing.

Former welterweight world champion Hatton was put through his paces in a training session with Liverpudlian UFC fighter Paul Sass, who is preparing for his fight against Danny Castillo at Wembley on February 16.

And while UFC fan Hatton admitted to learning a lot from Sass, he believes the cage fighters could pick up some lessons from boxing.

"They are two very different sports really," Hatton told ESPN. "The UFC fighter is a lot more square-on because of kicks.

"I wasn't the biggest puncher in the world, but I used my whole body. I worked with Paul on how he can get a bit more leverage with his punches by letting his shoulder down or by giving it a bit of a dip.

"I'm not saying I'd be successful in the UFC, but my game was close quarter fighting. I was always going to be pretty good at it. My game was body punching and punching my opponent's chest. I took to it like a duck to water.

"Maybe my style would be suited, but I think I'll stay where I am."

Hatton enjoyed a sparring session with Sass, who he believes has potential as a boxer, even if such skills count for less than might be expected in UFC.

"I was impressed with his boxing, he's a good puncher," Hatton said of Sass. "I think with the UFC, combination punches aren't the way forward. Obviously the more combinations you throw the longer you're stood in front of your opponent.

"In the UFC you can't do that because they grab you. We worked on some powerful single shots."

When the tables were turned, Hatton found himself on the wrong end of Sass' signature choke-hold as the 24-year-old gave the veteran a mat-work masterclass.

"The Sass-angle was extremely painful; you can feel the blood circulation stop," Hatton admitted. "It's really, really impressive.

"What makes me more of a fan of the UFC is the impressive number of moves on the mat. I was more of a Michael Bisping fan than a UFC fan, but now I'm very intrigued. 20 moves on his back, it's incredible."

Ricky Hatton was training with the UFC's Paul Sass ahead of the Liverpudlian's upcoming fight against Danny Castillo on February 16th. The UFC: London 2013 event is being held at Wembley Arena and tickets are still available via UFC.com and Ticketmaster.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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