Mike Tyson: If MMA had 'big' paydays during his heyday, he would have 'definitely' competed

LAS VEGAS - JULY 31: Former boxer Mike Tyson watches an undercard of the Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center July 31 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Can you imagine boxing legend Mike Tyson as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter?

Those lethal uppercuts, wind stealing body blows, and unmatched punching power connecting on Royce Gracie or Ken Shamrock probably wouldn't have been a pretty sight to behold for the weak-hearted.

"Iron Mike" tells This is 50 (via Middle Easy) that had MMA been as popular as it is today and if they had "big" paydays, he would have "definitely" been an MMA fighter instead of a pro boxer. By 1993, when the UFC debuted with UFC 1, Tyson had already won the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles and defended them nine times.

Had the sport been shelling out the type of coin back then as it is now, Tyson would have probably been knocking people out inside the Octagon instead of the squared-circle:

"I want to slam them, I want to hold them, I want to choke them. That's what you want to do anyway if you're in a street fight right? You want to hit them, but you want to get them too, real good. Get them down, get on top of them. So, you have more aspects. If it's not working this way, you can kick them in the fucking head, you know? If they (MMA) had big paydays, yes, no doubt about it."

During the UFC's early years of trying to make it as a legit sport, the heavy-handed boxer was incarcerated for three years after being convicted on rape charges, but returned to boxing action shortly after his release in 1995, reclaiming a title in 1996.

It's safe to say that had "Iron Mike," who is an avid fan, chosen the MMA road, Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos would be numbers two and three, respectively, as far as best hands in the history of the sport go.

After the jump, hear from Tyson himself and how he compares fighting to art and acting, as well as his prediction on how a fight between himself and Muhammad Ali in their prime would have went down.

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