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Ian Freeman

Ian William "The Machine" Freeman (born November 10, 1966 in Sunderland, England) is an English mixed martial arts fighter. He currently fights as a light heavyweight for Cage Rage. He is the reigning British Light Heavyweight champion. He is also the coach of the forthcoming British-based team in the International Fight League.


Martial arts background

Ian Freeman came into martial arts from boxing, in which he'd trained for around 10 years. Whilst working as a doorman, he ended up fighting with a man who was high on drugs and a friend mentioned that rather than punch him, he should have choked the man unconscious. Curious as to what he could learn, he started training in Goshin Jujitsu for around six to eight months before competing in amateur vale tudo competition. In his early days, he trained periodically with names such as Marco Ruas and Renzo Gracie.

Mixed martial arts career

After competing in amateur vale tudo, Ian Freeman turned pro in 1999, considered an early ambassador for the sport and given the nickname, "the Iron Ambassador". In early 2000, UFC approached Ian to fight at UFC 24, where he lost to Scott Adams. He fought two further times in UFC, winning both bouts. Pursuing other avenues, Ian's career seemed to hit the skids with four losses in a row, managing to bounce back with a submission win in a rematch with Stanislav Nuschik.

Ian's greatest triumph was arguably his win on home soil over Frank Mir at UFC 38. The heavy underdog, Ian Freeman lived up to his nickname as he systematically ground Mir down and broke his spirit, winning a first round stoppage in front of a British crowd. The match was bittersweet for Ian, having dedicated the match to his father who, unbeknownst to him, died the previous day of cancer. Victory saw Freeman with the chance to make his mark on the UFC heavyweight division but his next bout saw him stopped by Andrei Arlovski. A draw with Vernon White signalled the end of Freeman's second stint in UFC and saw him return to the fledgling UK MMA scene for which his win over Frank Mir had done so much.

Unfortunately, after one successful fight for the Cage Warriors promotion, Ian took a break from MMA, citing chronic fatigue syndrome and an intense training schedule which had caught up with him. He returned 11 months later to fight Ryan Robinson for the vacant Cage Rage Heavyweight title. Defeating Robinson inside one round with his now-customary ground and pound, Freeman vacated the title and announced he was dropping to Light Heavyweight. In early 2005, Ian again appeared to ebb away from MMA, appearing as a referee in ITV's ill-fated Celebrity Wrestling gameshow, that was quickly relegated to Sunday mornings and subsequently cancelled.


Ian Freeman originally signed on to fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 55 - Fury but was involved in a riding accident, which saw him fall from his horse. As he had not competed in nearly 9 months, this confirmed his retirement from competitive MMA. He later cited the return of chronic fatigue as a factor in his layoff and subsequent retirement. After a year-long layoff, he got back into training and regained his love of MMA. He approached Cage Rage and soon enough, he was offered his big comeback match to fight the Cage Rage World Light Heavyweight champion Melvin Manhoef at Cage Rage 17. Originally slated as a "superbout" at a catchweight of 96kg (211lbs), Manhoef asked for the fight to take place at the light heavyweight limit of 93kg (205lbs), which placed his World Light Heavyweight title on the line. After a career of being a small heavyweight, this would be Freeman's first match at light heavyweight.

Return to mixed martial arts

Unfortunately, The Machine's return to MMA ended in a quick, first-round KO loss, being knocked out by Melvin Manhoef in just 17 seconds. However, still being one of the best known mixed martial artists in Britain, he was granted a shot at British Light Heavyweight champion, Mark Epstein at Cage Rage 18 on September 30, 2006. Freeman overpowered Epstein with his ground-and-pound tactics, winning a unanimous decision and his second Cage Rage title.

On May 10, 2008, Ian fought Paul Cahoon for the British Cage Rage Light Heavyweight title. He won after three rounds with a unanimous decision.

Non-fighting career

Ian is the editor of the UK MMA magazine "Fighters Only". His autobiography, "Cage Fighter: The True Story of Ian 'The Machine' Freeman", was published in 2004 by Blake Publishing.

On November 1, 2006, it was announced that Ian will coach a British-based team that will participate in the International Fight League from 2008.

In 2005, Ian was the referee on ITV's ill-fated Celebrity Wrestling gameshow. Freeman has also starred in the 2008 British action-comedy film Sucker Punch.

Mixed martial arts record

19 wins (7 KO/TKO's, 8 Submissions, 4 Decisions), 7 Losses, 1 Draw .
Date Outcome Opponent Method Event Round, time Notes
10th May 2008 Win Paul Cahoon Decision (Unanimous) Cage Rage 26 3, 5:00 Won the Cage Rage British Light Heavyweight Title
30th September 2006 Win Mark Epstein Decision (Unanimous) Cage Rage 18 3, 5:00 Won the Cage Rage British Light Heavyweight Title
1st July 2006 Loss Melvin Manhoef KO Cage Rage 17 - Ultimate Challenge 1, 0:17 For the Cage Rage World Light Heavyweight Title
12th December 2004 Win Will Elworthy TKO House of Pain - Fight Night 1
27th September 2004 Win Ryan Robinson TKO Cage Rage 9 - No Mercy 1, 3:21 Wins Cage Rage Heavyweight Title but vacates title shortly afterwards, signalling his intention to drop to light heavyweight.
2nd November 2003 Win Keith Dace TKO CWFC - Cage Warriors 5 1, 0:47
6th June 2003 Draw Vernon White Split Draw UFC 43 - Meltdown 3, 5:00 Scorecards: 30-27, 28-29, 29-29
22nd February 2003 Win Gerhard Ettl Submission (Armbar) Free Fight Association Austria - Fight Night Championships 4 2, 1:40
22nd November 2002 Loss Andrei Arlovski TKO (Strikes) UFC 40 - Vendetta 1, 1:25
13th July 2002 Win Frank Mir TKO UFC 38 - Brawl at the Hall 1, 4:35
17th July 2001 Win Carlos Barreto Decision (Unanimous) Hook N Shoot - Kings 1 3, 5:00
14th July 2001 Win Stanislav Nuschik Submission (Front Choke) Free Fight Association Austria - Fight Night Championship 3 1, 1:57
27th April 2001 Loss Stanislav Nuschik KO MFC - Russia vs the World 1 1, 0:20
18th March 2001 Loss Valentijn Overeem Submission (Knees) 2 Hot 2 Handle: Simply The Best 1, 1:42
4th February 2001 Loss Osami Shibuya Submission (Rib Injury) Pancrase - Proof 1 1, 3:51
12th December 2000 Loss Bob Schrijber TKO It's Showtime - Christmas Edition
22nd September 2000 Win Tedd Williams Decision UFC 27 - Ultimate Bad Boyz 3, 5:00
23rd July 2000 Win Bob Stines KO (Punch) Pancrase - 2000 Neo-Blood Tournament, Round 1 1, 2:38
9th June 2000 Win Nate Schroeder Submission (Strikes) UFC 26 - Ultimate Field of Dreams 2
10th March 2000 Loss Scott Adams Submission (Heel Hook) UFC 24 - First Defense 1, 3:09
5th December 1999 Win Travis Fulton TKO (didn't answer the bell) Millennium Brawl 1 - The Beginning 3, 0:00
3rd October 1999 Win Dave Shortby TKO Total Fight KRG 5 1, 2:02
28th August 1999 Win Mark Lamborn Submission (Rear Naked Choke) British Vale Tudo 1, 0:55
28th August 1999 Win Keith Dace Submission (Guillotine Choke) British Vale Tudo 1, 0:46
27th June 1999 Win Kemal Lock Submission (Ankle Lock) British Grand Prix '99 1, 3:55
27th June 1999 Win Scotty Smith TKO British Grand Prix '99 1, 0:09
27th June 1999 Win Tony Bailey Submission (Guillotine Choke) British Grand Prix '99 1, 1:32


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