Maurice Smith (kickboxer) bigraphy, stories - Mixed martial artist

Maurice Smith (kickboxer) : biography

December 13, 1961 -

Maurice Smith (born December 13, 1961) is a former American boxer, kickboxer, mixed martial artist, and former UFC Heavyweight Champion.


Kickboxing career

Smith won his first professional kickboxing title in 1983 for the World Kickboxing Council by defeating light heavyweight champion Tony Morelli by knockout in the seventh round. Later that year, he won the World Kickboxing Association heavyweight title from Travis Everett with a KO via low kicks. Smith then went ten straight years without a loss.

He also had a notable win in 1991 over Stan Longinidis who, at the time, was tearing through the ranks and was regarded as a super up and coming fighter. Maurice won this 12 round match by split decision after coming back from a knock down in the first round by Stan and surviving an early onslaught.

In 1993, Smith was invited to the K-1 Grand Prix '93 along with seven of the world's best light heavyweight and heavyweight kickboxers. Smith won his first match by defeating Japanese fighter Toshiyuki Atokawa in the quarter finals by unanimous decision. In the semifinals he met Dutch fighter and future K-1 legend, Ernesto Hoost, where after a hard fought battle Smith was knocked out by left highkick in the final round, ending his tournament.

Mixed martial arts career

After a stint in Japanese promotions Pancrase and RINGS, accumulating a 4-7 record, Smith joined Battlecade Extreme Fighting in 1996 to fight against the heavyweight champion Marcus "Conan" Silvira. Throughout the fight Maurice showed excellent use of the sprawl technique which negated the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter's attempts at takedowns. Smith then knocked Conan out in the third round with a kick to the head. In doing so, he became the Extreme Fighting Heavyweight Champion and became the first legitimate striker to win a top end MMA event.

He then defended his title in the fourth show against judo exponent Kazunari Murakami with a first round knockout. After the win, the company folded and Maurice joined the largest MMA promotion in the United States, the UFC.

Smith developed a close relationship with Frank Shamrock, who he met while training at the Lion's Den. Shamrock and Smith worked synergistically; Shamrock, a submission specialist, vastly improved Smith's ground game while Smith, in return, vastly improved Shamrock's striking. Smith and Shamrock eventually formed their own MMA team, called the Alliance.

At UFC 14 on July 27, 1997, Smith faced UFC Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman in a title fight. Smith was considered to be a massive underdog for the bout, but shocked the mixed martial arts world with a unanimous decision victory to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. With this win, Smith became the first striker to survive the attack of a world class wrestler. He then successfully defended his belt against David "Tank" Abbott winning via strikes due to leg kicks, before losing his belt to MMA legend Randy Couture by majority decision, in a close fight.

Return to MMA

On May 19, 2007 Maurice Smith had his first MMA bout in almost seven years when he defeated Marco Ruas by TKO at an International Fight League show held in Chicago. On February 23, 2008 at a Strikeforce event entitled Strikeforce: At The Dome held at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, Smith defeated kickboxer Rick Roufus, who was making his MMA debut, by submission at 1:53 of the first round.

Maurice Smith was the coach of the Seattle Tiger Sharks of the International Fight League from 2006 to 2007. He is currently associated with Team Alliance.

Smith returned to MMA on Friday March 30, 2012 at the second Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) card against Jorge Cordoba, his first career fight as a light heavyweight. After spending the first two rounds picking apart Cordoba with various strikes, Maurice finished the fight with a head kick knockout. He was scheduled to fight Ryan Lopez on June 30, 2012 at Resurrection Fighting Alliance's third event, RFA 3, but Lopez pulled out due to an unspecified illness. This would have been Smith's second career fight at light heavyweight.

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