MANILA, Philippines -- Veteran mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly won't deny that retirement has crossed his mind, even as he prepares for his first bout in more than a year.
The 36-year-old Kelly has dropped three of his last four matches in ONE Championship, and he knows that he's not getting any younger.
"I've thought about walking away from it all, mostly due to my age," he admits. "I'm not a young fighter anymore. I know this is a young man's game."
But retirement will have to wait, as Kelly is set to take on Egypt's Ahmed "The Prince" Faress at ONE: Full Blast, a tape-delayed event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium which airs this Friday, May 28.
This next bout will be the gauge for Kelly, as he determines how much he has left in the tank.
"I want to prove to myself that I still have it. I know I still have two to three good fights in me. I want to show the world my fighting heart," said Kelly.
"But I know retirement is just around the corner, because of my age," he also admits. "My mind is willing but I want to test myself and my body."
It will be a difficult test, as Faress is a taekwondo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist. A ONE Warrior Series product, the Egyptian fighter carries a 16-3 professional record into his ONE Championship debut.
Kelly noted that Faress is a "well-rounded fighter" but he is confident that he can impose his will and execute his game plan.
"He's great on the ground, but I'm also willing to grapple with him all night. I am confident in my grappling skills," said Kelly. "I want to dominate him. I want to showcase my hard work."
"Faress is a good opponent. I take nothing away from him. But I do question his fighting spirit. I think that's where Team Lakay fighters have the advantage. We go out there and put it all on the line," he added.
"I want to show my true abilities as a fighter. I want people to see the real Edward Kelly, and I want to win."
ONE: Full Blast also features a major ONE Super Series bantamweight Muay Thai showdown between No. 1-ranked Saemapetch Fairtex and his Thai compatriot Kulabdam "Left Meteorite" Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai.
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