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The man who practically created the phrase “ground and pound”, UFC Hall of Famer Mark “The Hammer” Coleman was one of the Octagon’s pioneers from 1996 to 1999. In Spring of 1999, he traveled to Japan to compete in the PRIDE organization, where he resurrected his career, won the PRIDE Grand Prix finals in 2000, and re-established himself as one of the best heavyweights in the world. But his heart remained with the UFC, and in 2009, the former NCAA National wrestling champion from Ohio State returned to the UFC with a Fight of the Night performance against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Training: Every day I train is different. I pretty much make my plans the day of. I see how my body feels and pretty much take it from there. I try to get in at least two workouts a day at two hours apiece. I mix it up with a little bit of everything – sparring, wrestling, grappling, cardio, and weight training.
When and why did you start training for fighting? The first time I saw the UFC on TV, I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do. It fit me perfectly. If there had been Ultimate Fighting when I was a kid, I would have been training for it when I was a kid. Once I saw it and knew it was real, I knew I was gonna do it immediately.
What ranks and titles have you held? UFC Hall of Famer, Former UFC Heavyweight Champion, PRIDE 2000 Open Weight Grand Prix Champion, 1988 NCAA National Wrestling Champion for Ohio State, 1992 US Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team member.
Do you have any heroes? My mother and father and my two kids.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It means everything in the world to me. I’ve been trying to get back in the UFC since I left. It’s always been my goal to get back and it just took a little longer than I anticipated. I’m grateful that the UFC has given me another opportunity to come back and fight again in the big leagues.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? Ohio State – degree in education.
What was your job before you started fighting? Assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State and focusing full-time on trying to be an Olympic champion.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? 1988 NCAA Division I National Wrestling Champion for Ohio State, 1992 US Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team member (finished seventh in Barcelona Games), second place for US in 1991 FILA World Championships, fourth place in 1986 NCAA Division I National Championships for Miami University of Ohio. Two-time Mid-American Conference Champion, 1988 Big Ten Champion, 1988 All-Big Ten selection.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? UFC Hall of Famer, Former UFC Heavyweight Champion, PRIDE 2000 Open Weight Grand Prix Champion
Favorite grappling technique: Double leg takedown
Favorite Striking technique: Ground and pound