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Maccarinelli 'keen on UFC switch'

By Ben Dirs

Enzo Maccarinelli
Maccarinelli lost his world title to David Haye in March

Enzo Maccarinelli is interested in leaving boxing and joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), according to UFC UK president Marshall Zelaznik.

Last week Maccarinelli, a former WBO cruiserweight champion, reportedly said he would be confident of knocking out British UFC star Michael Bisping.

"We were contacted by Enzo's representatives about the possibility of Enzo moving over," said Zelaznik.

"But the UFC is not the place for a novice mixed martial arts fighter."

The UFC is the world's foremost brand within the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA), with competitors combining boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and other disciplines while fighting in an octagonal "cage".

Last week, the 28-year-old Maccarinelli revealed that discussions had taken place between himself and UFC supremo Dana White.

"I'd never rule out putting a pair of the little mitts on and going in the cage," he told The Sun's website.

"I do enjoy the UFC and the sport of MMA in general. I'm quite a big follower of it but boxing will always be my number one."

And Zelaznik said the idea of the Welshman appearing in the UFC's reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, the winner of which is handed a UFC contract, had been "floated".

Enzo would not have the skills that would allow him to succeed in MMA. It would be like a world-class sprinter entering the Decathlon

Marshall Zelaznik, UFC UK president Marshall Zelaznik
However, Zelaznik said Maccarinelli did not possess the "well-rounded skills to be successful in MMA", let alone the tools to beat seasoned mixed martial artist Bisping.

Zelaznik said: "Enzo's boxing career speaks for itself - he is very impressive. We were all surprised to learn that Enzo also trained between boxing bouts in both kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which are two of the many skills vital for any well-rounded MMA fighter.

"[But] with no wrestling experience and only keep-fit type training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Thai boxing, he would not have the skills that would allow him to succeed in MMA.

"As boxing fans, we would love to one day see Enzo competing in our great sport. But Enzo would really need to focus a lot of energy on the nuances of the MMA ground and striking game before we would ever see that image realised.

"If you understand the sport of MMA, you understand that any boxer, no matter how good, would not be able to effectively compete in the Octagon. It would be like a world-class sprinter entering the decathlon.

"Marcus Davis, one of our top welterweights, was once ranked inside the top 10 light-middleweight boxers in the world and he will tell you boxers in MMA are like fish out of water."

Maccarinelli, who lost his WBO crown to David Haye in March, defeated Matthew Ellis on his heavyweight debut on Saturday after a series of cruiserweight opponents pulled out.

see also
Maccarinelli stops Ellis in two
06 Dec 08 |  Boxing
A right to fight?
04 Dec 08 |  Season Ticket
Hearn fears for boxing's future
13 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Ultimate Fighting's new recruit
30 Jun 07 |  Boxing
Boxing's biggest fight
20 Apr 07 |  Boxing

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