Hasim Rahman. Photo courtesy of HBO Boxing.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Hasim Rahman is reportedly set to transition to the sport of mixed martial arts later this year, while also continuing his boxing career part-time as well:
Former boxing heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman is coming to MMA sometime this year, according to the fighter’s agent.
Rahman, who knocked out Lennox Lewis in 2001 to win the linear heavyweight title, has his heart set on a mixed marital arts career, said Sandros Gelke, who represents him. Now living in Las Vegas, Rahman, 45-7 (36 KO), is coming off a one-sided, Dec. 13 seventh-round stoppage at the hands of IBF/WBO champ Wladimir Klitschko.
Gelke said that the 36-year-old Rahman is “quite serious about fighting in MMA” and they are currently in negotiations with several promotions, hoping to line up a debut fight sometime in the next 2-3 months. The ex-champ—whose boxing career went south after losing a rematch to Lennox Lewis—built a reputation on a big right hand in the sweet science, though he was also inconsistent and at times seemed to lack the impetus to get in shape.
The move is interesting because it brings forth the first instance in which a boxer is making the move to MMA while still being considered somewhat of a factor in his weight class. (Rahman is still widely thought to be one of the top 15-20 in the heavyweight division) Let it be known that this isn’t someone like Ray Mercer making the jump; Rahman just fought one of the Klitschko brothers for a trio of belts in December.
At the same time, Rahman’s decision seems a bit questionable. Does he really want to take MMA seriously, or is he looking for another paycheck in a different kind of venue since he’s proven time and time again that he can’t hang with the elite heavyweights in boxing? Jason Probst’s article quotes Rahman’s manager as saying that his client will train for three months before jumping into professional action.
Rahman has zero wrestling experience and has never trained in jiu-jitsu, yet is determined to start his second career against a fighter similar to Tank Abbott or James Thompson. Something tells me that Rahman will be slinking back to the boxing ring sooner rather than later if that’s the course he’s going to take.
Next entry: Will Rampage Succeed as UFC 96’s Top Draw?