Inaugural UFC welterweight (called lightweight at the time) champion and UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich wrote the blueprint for MMA - to reach the highest level, you have to be able to hang in the gym with national-level kickboxers, national-level BJJ players, and national-level wrestlers.
Miletich is also arguably the greatest coach in MMA history. In 2003, MFS fighter Tim Sylvia was the UFC heavyweight champ, MFS fighter Matt Hughes was the UFC welterweight champ, and Jens Pulver who was coming off a successful title defense vs. B.J. Penn might well have been the UFC lightweight champ, but it was stripped over a contract dispute. And there were only five weight divisions at the time.
Michael Nunn was once considered the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world.
That was then. Now the two Quad Cities legends are going to kickbox, on April 18.
Nunn, 56, and has not boxed since 2002. The bad news is he just served 15 years on federal cocaine trafficking charges. The good news is there was little to do in lockup but exercise.
Miletich, 51, has not fought since 2008, but for years has been competing in ultramarathons and does an S&C routine that would crush the average CrossFit gym owner.
The bout will be promoted by yet another Quad Cities legend, Monte Cox, who managed the MFS team and has promoted more MMA events than anyone in history.
Cox hopes to hold the event at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline, Illinois, if he can get the Illinois AC to agree. Otherwise, it will be held in the Quad Cities, at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport.
The kickboxing rules are a compromise between their respective skillsets.
"Michael Nunn fighting me in a mixed martial arts match lasts about a minute, if that,'' said Miletich. "If I fought him in a boxing match, it wouldn't be a fair fight. But the fact that I'm allowed to kick, that makes things totally different. Now there's a question mark.''
Nunn wisely wouldn't take the fight under MMA rules.
"It's a boxer against a kickboxer,'' said Nunn. "There's not going to be no rassling crap.''
Nunn hasn't competed in kickboxing before, but cited street scuffles while growing up in Davenport.
"I'm an all-around guy, man,'' Nunn explained. "There isn't anything I can't do. ... I've been training like a mad f***ing Russian. I'm an old man. I've got to train.' ... It's going to be a massive crowd. Pat's got a lot of fans and I've got a lot of fans. It's going to be good.''
Miletich, who will be lighter, with lesser reach, is supremely confident.
"As soon as Michael starts opening up with his hands, I'm going to open up with my legs ...'' he said. "You can't move when your legs are destroyed by 180-mile-per-hour shin bones smashing into your quads.''