Ray Sefo has fought everyone and anyone throughout his lengthy 18-year kickboxing career, even competing in mixed martial arts three times.
He took a step back from fighting to pursue a new venture as the President of the World Series of Fighting promotion, using his many contacts in the fight industry to set up a deal on NBC Sports sports and sign several of the top free agents as well as multiple top prospects from around the country.
But the urge to compete never left "Sugar" and he kept the door open for a possible return to competition.
When an opening became available, he did just that, stepping in to face Dave Huckaba despite turning 42 years old this past February.
Sefo will potentially be fighting for the last time when he battles "The Bad Man" in the co-main event of WSOF 4 this Saturday night (Aug. 10, 2013) in Ontario, California.
He spoke with MMAmania.com during a guest appearance on The Verbal Submission about what drew him to compete again, taking a leave of abence and having a bad taste in his mouth in this exclusive interview.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's start with the most obvious question, what made you want to take off the promoter hat and fight again, especially in MMA?
Ray Sefo: Throughout my career I've fought the best of the best in the world of kickboxing. I was contracted to K-1 for 14 years and I won six world titles in multiple weight divisions and in 2010 I was inducted into the martial arts Hall of Fame. My last goal was to complete 100 fights and look at retiring. At that point I thought I had between 93 and 96 fights, which left me at about four fights until I hit 100.
I checked wikipedia and they only had me at 87 fights, so three and a half weeks ago I called one of my coaches that I became world champion with and we went down all the fights I'd had and he told me I had 17 or 18 fights going into K-1. So actually, I've already got 100 fights and this upcoming bout against Dave Huckaba will be my 101st.
I'm 99.9 percent sure that after this fight I will retire. The only reason that's not 100 percent is because I would like to fight one more fight in front of my home town in New Zealand. If that happens, great, if not then this will be my last fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Was it difficult to put your duties as WSOF President and promoter aside and focus on fighting again?
Ray Sefo: Well I'm coaching in Las Vegas and I'm in the gym six days a week anyways so it wasn't too difficult of a transition. I'm in the gym regardless. The decision to put the promoter hat aside wasn't difficult at all because I've got a great team behind me and I trust in them to get the job done while I'm focusing on this fight. If I really need to be there for anything, I can always get on the phone in the office.
The biggest difference for me now is that instead of being in the office nearly 100 percent of the time, I'm in there maybe five to ten percent of the time, which allows me to focus entirely on training.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now your last MMA fight was back in Strikeforce against Valentijn Overeem where you were defeated via submission. Did that one leave a bad taste in your mouth and you're hoping you can make up for that one?
Ray Sefo: Well yeah, that too. No disrespect to Valentijn, but we were doing Vitor's camp for that when I got asked to fight. Say he fought today, I fought a week later. I didn't really have any time to focus on myself for that fight and all I really did was work that week leading up to the fight. I knew Overeem liked to go for leg locks and catch opponents with a Kimura so that's what we focused on defending against that week leading to the fight and he went and submitted me with something completely different (laughs). So yeah, it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.
This time around, we had a complete camp and I'm fully prepared for my opponent.
You can follow Ray on Twitter @SugarRaySefo.