Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Challenges Mike Tyson: One Round Boxing, One Round MMA
A former UFC heavyweight champion is the latest man to throw out a challenge to Mike Tyson - the twist being the contest would alternate between a round of boxing, then a round of MMA.
Andrei Arlovski, the 41-year-old 'Pitbull', scored a win on a UFC Fight Night card this May. At the same time, Tyson has been in intense training after announcing a willingness to fight once again in a charity exhibition bout.
'Iron Mike' has received challenges from Shannon Briggs, old rival Evander Holyfield and others - but Belarusian Arlovski is very keen on testing himself against a man he refers to as his childhood hero.
"Tyson is a legend," Arlovski told sports.ru. "His poster hung in my room."
"I'm not ready for a full fight by the rules of boxing against him. If one round is boxing and one round is MMA, then it is possible."
Arlovski, the bearded Belarusian with a strong Zangief look, has had an up-and-down 20-year MMA career. It's involved two spells in the UFC and the highlight was undoubtedly back in 2005 when he won and defended the heavyweight belt - before losing it to Tim Sylvia the following year.
He's also dabbled in boxing before, his record showing a stoppage victory, and once had hopes of fighting Wladimir Klitschko over a decade ago when the Ukrainian ruled boxing's flagship division.
"There was an idea to hold 10 fights and then fight with Klitschko," said Arlovski, according to BoxingScene.com. "Then I had health problems. We paused the idea, but if there is any specific proposal, I will consider it."
It turns out Arlovski, who trained under Freddie Roach at the famous Wild Card Gym in order to improve his striking ability, is now the man throwing out the proposals.
Mike Tyson is a big UFC fan but has no previous experience in combat sports, beyond boxing. With many against the idea of the 53-year-old fighting again - even in an exhibition bout - it's understandable that the idea of him potentially facing a current UFC fighter under semi-MMA rules would make a lot of people very uneasy.
Of course, Tyson fanatics might claim that Arlovski would have to get through a round of boxing against the former heavyweight champ first - something many foes singularly failed to do in his younger days.
But, however hard he looks as though he's hitting the pads in training, Tyson is now long retired and more than three decades past his prime.
At 41, Arlovski is past his peak too, but remains an active UFC combatant with a victory just over a week ago in the Octagon. It seems his challenge - however respectfully delivered - is one that Tyson would be crazy to take up.
Imagery: PA Images