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Kimbo Slice heads to Montreal to face Matt Mitrione

Slice happy to be fighting at heavyweight, still developing ground game at American Top Team

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Justin M. Bowen

Kimbo Slice poses after defeating Houston Alexander in a catchweight fight at The Palms on December 5, 2009. Slice won by decision.

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Sure, Kimbo Slice enjoys fighting for a living.

But make no mistake: If he, and not Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, had received an offer to play B.A. Baracus in the new "A-Team" movie, which premieres this summer, fighting would have taken a backseat to an acting career.

"I would have been Mr. T. I would have been B.A. Baracus, not Kimbo Slice," laughed Slice, when asked if he would have left fighting to film the movie. "Acting is another interest of mine. It's something I like to do."

Slice laughs, but according to what he remembers it nearly turned out that way.

The UFC fighter says he and Jackson were two of four finalists for the part. The other two were rappers Curtis Jackson (50 Cent) and Jayceon Taylor (The Game).

Even though Slice lost out on the movie deal to his future coach on "The Ultimate Fighter," he didn't hold it against Jackson and can't complain with what's happened in his life since.

"I don't knock no man," Slice said. "Rampage is the man. Dude can't get no realer than that. What else can I say?"

Slice (4-1) looks to give a different kind of performance May 8, when he takes on fellow TUF 10 alum Matt Mitrione (1-0) in a heavyweight bout on the undercard of UFC 113 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

After defeating Houston Alexander in a catchweight fight at 215 pounds, Slice is enjoying the opportunity to fight at heavyweight this time around — although he believes cutting to 215 would not be as bad now that he's done it before.

"The weight cut was my first time doing it, and I guess I experienced what I experienced," said Slice. "If I had to do it again, I don't think it would be the same because I know what to expect now. But fighting at heavyweight, it's nice not to worry about cutting weight."

Slice and his fans will be looking for more action than what he saw in his last fight, when Alexander took to basically circling around the octagon for 15 minutes and refusing to engage.

Alexander was cut from the UFC following that fight — a fact that Slice was unaware of but not surprised to hear.

"I didn't even know that," Slice said. "But you're being paid to come in and fight. You're a fighter. You don't run, you don't skip. If you don't do what you're getting paid to do then you're not doing your job. That's in anything."

Slice is committed to doing his job for the UFC and says he is training all aspects of MMA unlike ever before in his career.

Working with American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., Slice has been thrown in with some of the top trainers in the world.

It's been an eye-opening experience. Although Slice was training MMA before he made the move to the UFC, he says the trainers he was working with weren't always truly dedicated to seeing him evolve as a fighter.

"I'll be honest with you, when I was with EliteXC I was under another trainer who wasn't really training me any ground game," Slice said. "I would say I only started learning a lot of ground after I left the (TUF) house. I would say from that point on is when I really started being on the ground and learning jiu-jitsu."

Slice, who said before and after his last fight he's most interested in standing with his opponents, said that while his ground game has come a long way from what it was when he joined the TUF house, it continues to be a work in progress.

"There are times where I've gotten frustrated where I've said, 'You know what? I'm just not getting it,'" Slice said. "That's when (BJJ coach, Ricardo) Liborio has me reanalyze it and break it back down.

"Every time you have to learn something new it's not going to be easy. Repetition is the key to learning. I have to repeat tings to get it to stick. I can't say I'm going to learn something today and it's ready to go."

Whether or not Slice's ground game becomes a factor May 8 is questionable, as Mitrione has shown the tendency to stand in most of his fights thus far.

It's likely he'll also be eager to test his standup after spending this training camp with Duke Roufus in Milwaukee, a trainer known for developing striking more than jiu-jitsu.

As far as seeing a familiar face in the octagon for his second fight with the UFC, Slice said he was happy with the matchup.

"It's a damn good matchup," Slice said. "He's one of the guys I wanted to fight in the house. I would have fought anyone, but being that he was in the house and he wasn't a real likeable guy, I wouldn't mind knocking this fool out.

"But it's the styles I like. It's not personal. I'm not into that personal (expletive)."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

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