In the Prominent days of K-1, there were a few names that stood out as MMA and kickboxing crossover athletes. Mark Hunt, Mirko Cro Cop, Allistair Overeem and Melvin Manhoef were a handful of top level kickboxing and MMA crossovers. With the news that #1 Glory middleweight Joe Schilling will be making his Belltor MMA debut, you can’t help but wonder if we’ll see any more Glory kickboxers try to cross over into the world of MMA. Granted, there are a lot of differences to consider in fighting technique, glove size, round times, scoring etc. but there’s no counting out the value of superior kickboxing in MMA. While “Stitch ’em up” Joe Schilling is just one example of a modern crossover, here are 5 more Glory kickboxers we’d love to see in MMA.
Verhoeven’s record (44-9-0) includes wins over major heavyweights Errol Zimmerman, Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita. For all of his size and build, Verhoeven has a knack for out-conditioning his opponents. He’s taken 34 of his 44 victories by decision victory and 10 by knockouts. To fight in MMA with such great conditioning at his size would make for a very formidable opponent in the heavyweight division.
#4- Nieky Holzken
Nieky “The Natural” Holzken has a record of 83-11-0 racking up a thorough resume in the kickboxing world. Holzken is the #1 welterweight in Glory, taking six consecutive victories in the organization alone. He got to the #1 spot by utilizing precise timing, excellent counter attacks, and a knack for landing a hard liver shot KO. His long and lanky build could be a valuable tool for the ground game of MMA in addition to his striking skills.
#3- Artem Levin
Artem Levin (50-4-1) is the current middleweight champion of Glory. What more do you need to know than he’s taken 33 TKO’s in the kickboxing arena? His Muay Thai fighting style is a near unstoppable force in the ring and it would have excellent application for the cage. With 50 wins under his belt at just 27 years of age, that leaves plenty of time to train for an MMA career and make a run in the cage.
#2- Robin Van Roosmalen
If you know anything about Roosmalen’s style, there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t be a great grappler. He’s built like a tank for a lightweight and has a very aggressive forward-moving kickboxing style. If he traded in his kickboxing gloves for MMA gloves, he would be an exciting lightweight to watch with an aggressive edge. At 32-6-0 with 19 knockouts, he is one of the most promising kickboxers who could make it in MMA.
#1- Andy Ristie
Nearly half of Andy Ristie’s victories have come by knockout. “The Machine” (42-4-1) got to the #1 spot of the lightweight division by capitalizing on his unorthodox fighting style. He blasted onto the Glory radar by knocking out Giorgia Petrosyan (then 78-1-1) for the first time in his career. He strikes with all of the speed and accuracy needed to excel in the MMA arena, and is perhaps the best qualified Glory kickboxer to change over.