Maurice Smith (kickboxer)

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Maurice Smith
Born (1961-12-13) December 13, 1961 (age 53)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Other names Mo
Nationality American
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 93.44 kg (206.0 lb; 14.714 st)
Division Heavyweight (1993-2008, 2013-present)
Light Heavyweight (2012)
Team The Alliance
Years active 1980–2008, 2012-present
Professional boxing record
Total 1
Losses 1
By knockout 1
Kickboxing record
Total 71
Wins 53
Losses 13
Draws 5
Mixed martial arts record
Total 28
Wins 14
By knockout 8
By submission 3
By decision 3
Losses 14
By submission 8
By decision 4
Unknown 2
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: May 24, 2013 (2013-05-24)

Maurice L. Smith[1] (born December 13, 1961) is an American mixed martial artist and former UFC Heavyweight Champion who most recently competed in the Heavyweight division. A professional competitor since 1980, Smith has formerly competed for the UFC, Strikeforce, PRIDE FC, Pancrase, the IFL, RINGS, the RFA, and World Victory Road.


Raised in Seattle, Washington, Smith got into martial arts after watching Bruce Lee's Chinese Connection and because of fights with other kids during his childhood.[2] He trained in karate, taekwondo and wing chun, and finally moved to kickboxing.

Kickboxing career[edit]

Smith won his first seven amateur kickboxing matches and turned professional. His first fight was on March 4, 1982 against World Kickboxing Council's Light Heavyweight Champion Tony Morelli, who defeated him by decision after seventh round. Seeing he had lost due to his lack of cardio, Smith started to train extensively to improve it, and fourteen months later, he went to his rematch as a new fighter. He then defeated Morelli by KO via roundhouse kick also in the seventh round, winning the championship.

Later that year, he was called for a non-title fight in Japan against the renowned Don "The Dragon" Wilson, and although Smith lost the fight, he had led Wilson to the eleventh round and it turned heads in the kickboxing world. Maurce move up a weight and won the World Kickboxing Association Heavyweight Championship from Travis Everett, knocking him out via low kicks.

In 1984, Smith went to compete in Thai boxing rules in Holland, losing his first fight there to Marcel Swank on the first round. It moved him to learn the art, and upon his return to United States, Smith 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 knockdown 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 quarterfinals 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[edit]

Smith had his first contact with mixed martial arts when he was invited in November 1989 by the Japanese professional wrestling promotion UWF Newborn. He was scheduled to face up-and-coming wrestler Masakatsu Funaki in a mixed rules fight, but his opponent got injured and was replaced with training partner Minoru Suzuki. During the fight, Smith kept negating Suzuki's takedown attempts by employing the pro wrestling-ruled rope scapes and a rudimentary sprawl ability, knocking him out several times with strike before finishing him with a right punch at the fourth round. The event sold out the Tokyo Dome and broke record gates. On October 4, 1992, Smith would face Funaki in an exhibition fight for Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi, ending in a draw.

In 1993, Smith debuted for the mixed martial arts promotion Pancrase founded by Funaki and Suzuki. He took part in a kickboxing rules fight against Suzuki in the event Yes, We Are Hybrid Wrestlers 3, winning for second time after KOing him multiple times. Later, he was scheduled to compete in a special rules MMA fight, in which the first and third rounds would be fought wearing boxing gloves, the second and fourth barehanded, and the fifth with only Smith wearing them. However, Smith lost the fight when Suzuki took him down at round 3 and made him tap to an armbar. The fight evidenced the grappling as Smith's main weakness, as he was a pure kickboxer and had not grappling training while competing in Pancrase.

The next year, he took part in the King of Pancrase tournament. Maurice beat Takaku Fuke on the first round, but fell to Ken Shamrock via arm triangle choke on the second fight, celebrated the same night. He would go to lost twice to Bas Rutten, a Thai boxer who had learned ground fighting, and got a win in a kickboxing match against Manabu Yamada in which the Japanese fighter got both knocked out and injured. However, his defeat to Shamrock was instrumental to his career, as he became friends with him and was sent to his dojo in United States, the Lion's Den, to learn proper MMA. There he met Frank Shamrock, who he formed a close relationship with. Shamrock and Smith worked synergistically; Shamrock, a submission specialist, improved Smith's ground game, while Smith in return improved Shamrock's striking. Along with Japanese fighter Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, who had befriended Frank after a fight between them in Fighting Network RINGS, Smith and Shamrock eventually formed their own MMA team, called the Alliance.

Smith joined Battlecade Extreme Fighting in 1996 to fight against the Heavyweight Champion Marcus "Conan" Silveira. Throughout the fight Maurice showed excellent use of the sprawl technique which negated the Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter's attempts at takedowns, as well as a remarkable submission defensive whenever Silveira was able to engage him on the ground. Smith then knocked out Silveira in the third round with a roundhouse 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 and pro wrestling exponent Kazunari Murakami. Although Murakami surprisingly dropped Smith with a palm strike at the beginning, Smith escaped from his ground game and hit a barrage of leg kicks against the prone Japanese, and later knocked him out with a single punch. After the win, the company folded and Maurice joined the largest MMA promotion in the United States, the UFC.

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. Through the use of an active guard, Smith was able to negate Coleman's vaunted ground and pound attacks. After nearly 15 minutes of attempting to damage Smith through his guard Coleman was exhausted, allowing Smith to capitalize on the feet. Eventually, he won the decision against an exhausted and damaged Coleman.

Smith 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[edit]

On May 19, 2007 Maurice Smith had his first MMA bout in almost seven years when he defeated Marco Ruas by TKO in a rematch at an International Fight League show held in Chicago. He saved his energy for the first rounds, making little action, before turning to attack and dropping Ruas thrice with striking combinations for the towel throw.

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 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.[3] Weeks before the fight, though, Lopez was forced to pull out of the fight due to an unspecified illness. This would have been Smith's second career fight at Light Heavyweight.

Smith returned to the Heavyweight division and lost a unanimous decision to Matt Kovacs at Cage Warrior Combat (CWC) 9 on November 2, 2013.[4]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


Mixed martial arts[edit]

Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing Record

Legend:       Win       Loss       Draw/No contest       Notes

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 14–14 Matt Kovacs Decision (unanimous) CWC 9: Cage Warrior Combat 9 November 2, 2013 3 5:00 Kent, Washington, United States Return to Heavyweight division.
Win 14–13 Jorge Cordoba KO (head kick) RFA 2: Yvel vs. Alexander March 30, 2012 3 2:05 Kearney, Nebraska, United States Drops to Light Heavyweight.
Loss 13–13 Hidehiko Yoshida Submission (cobra choke) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 3 June 8, 2008 1 2:23 Saitama, Japan
Win 13–12 Rick Roufus Submission (straight armbar) Strikeforce: At The Dome February 23, 2008 1 1:53 Tacoma, Washington, United States
Win 12–12 Marco Ruas TKO (corner stoppage) IFL: Chicago May 19, 2007 4 3:43 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss 11–12 Renato Sobral Decision (unanimous) UFC 28 November 17, 2000 3 5:00 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 11–11 Bobby Hoffman Decision (majority) UFC 27 September 22, 2000 3 5:00 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Loss 10–11 Renzo Gracie Submission (straight armbar) RINGS: King of Kings 1999 Block B December 22, 1999 1 0:50 Tokyo, Japan
Win 10–10 Branden Lee Hinkle Decision (majority) RINGS: King of Kings 1999 Block B December 22, 1999 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 9–10 Marcus Silveira Submission (arm-triangle choke) WEF 7: Stomp in the Swamp October 9, 1999 2 2:48 Kenner, Louisiana, United States
Win 9–9 Branko Cikatic Submission (forearm choke) Pride 7 September 12, 1999 1 7:33 Yokohama, Japan
Win 8–9 Marco Ruas TKO (corner stoppage) UFC 21 July 16, 1999 1 5:00 Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Loss 7–9 Kevin Randleman Decision (unanimous) UFC 19 March 5, 1999 1 15:00 Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, United States
Loss 7–8 Randy Couture Decision (majority) UFC Japan December 21, 1997 1 21:00 Yokohama, Japan Lost UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 7–7 Tank Abbott Submission (exhaustion) UFC 15 October 17, 1997 1 8:08 Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, United States Defended UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 6–7 Mark Coleman Decision (unanimous) UFC 14 July 27, 1997 1 21:00 Birmingham, Alabama, United States Won UFC Heavyweight Championship. Fight of the Year (1997).
Win 5–7 Kazunari Murakami KO (punch) Extreme Fighting 4 March 28, 1997 1 4:23 Des Moines, Iowa, United States Defended Extreme Fighting Heavyweight Championship
Loss 4–7 Akira Maeda N/A RINGS: Budokan Hall 1997 January 22, 1997 N/A N/A Tokyo, Japan
Win 4–6 Marcus Silveira TKO (head kick) Extreme Fighting 3 October 18, 1996 3 1:36 Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States Won Extreme Fighting Heavyweight Championship
Loss 3–6 Kiyoshi Tamura Submission (armbar) RINGS: Maelstrom 6 August 24, 1996 1 10:58 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 3–5 Tsuyoshi Kohsaka N/A RINGS: Budokan Hall 1996 January 24, 1996 N/A N/A Tokyo, Japan
Loss 3–4 Bas Rutten Submission (rear-naked choke) Pancrase: Eyes Of Beast 6 November 4, 1995 1 4:34 Yokohama, Japan
Win 3–3 Manabu Yamada KO (punch) Pancrase: 1995 Anniversary Show[5] September 1, 1995 2 1:46 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 2–3 Bas Rutten Submission (kneebar) Pancrase: Eyes Of Beast 4 May 13, 1995 1 2:10 Chiba, Japan
Loss 2–2 Ken Shamrock Submission (arm-triangle choke) Pancrase: King of Pancrase Tournament Opening Round December 16, 1994 1 4:23 Tokyo, Japan
Win 2–1 Takaku Fuke KO (knee) Pancrase: King of Pancrase Tournament Opening Round December 16, 1994 1 2:48 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 1–1 Minoru Suzuki Submission (armbar) Pancrase: Pancrash! 1 May 31, 1994 3 0:36 Tokyo, Japan
Win 1–0 Minoru Suzuki KO (punch) Pancrase: Yes, We Are Hybrid Wrestlers 3 November 8, 1993 3 0:52 Tokyo, Japan

Mixed rules[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 1–0 Minoru Suzuki KO (punch) UWF U-Cosmos November 29, 1989 4 1:05 Tokyo, Japan


  1. ^ NSAC report of K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 Preliminary USA
  2. ^ Jeremy Wall, UFC's Ultimate Warriors: The Top Ten
  3. ^ "Maurice Smith returns to the RFA to face TUF alum Ryan Lopez at RFA 3". June 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Matt Kovacs vs. Maurice Smith". November 2, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Pancrase: 1995 Anniversary Show Official Results". September 1, 1995. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mark Coleman
2nd UFC Heavyweight Champion
July 27, 1997 - December 21, 1997
Succeeded by
Randy Couture