Hoffman looks to rejuvenate MMA career

Posted on June 29, 2011

By Jason McGrann

CENTERVILLE, Iowa – It was only four years ago that Centerville native Bobby Hoffman was a rising star in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and known as one of the toughest men on the planet in the sport of mixed martial arts fighting.

On Nov. 2, 2001, Hoffman competed in UFC 34 on a fight card that included UFC legends Matt Hughes, Evan Tanner, Randy Couture and Pedro Rizzo. Not long after that worldwide televised event, Hoffman’s personal problems led him away from the octagon for over a year. Hoffman then fought in a handful of fights over the next two years before retiring in 2004 at the age of 37.

Now at the age of 39, Hoffman is putting the past behind him as he prepares to rejuvenate his career in what he calls a “rebirth”. “This is kind of a rebirth for me, because I’ve been retired and out of it and they brought me back and I lost to a kid that I had beaten previously when I began fighting,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman came out of retirement in May of 2005 to fight current King of the Cage super heavyweight champion Eric Pele. A portion of the fight was recently shown on an episode of “Inked” on A&E. Pele is a tattoo artist on the show. A second round loss to the 340-pounder proved to be a wake up call for Hoffman.

“I’m taking it more serious now because it’s just not in my blood to lose,” commented Hoffman. Hoffman’s rebirth also includes dropping a bad reputation that has followed him since his career started in 1998. Hoffman has been known as “The Bad Seed,” but is dumping that identity in favor of “The Twisted Joker”.

“Bad seeds don’t grow too well,” Hoffman said. But I’m still going to !@#* people up in that octagon. I’ve had that bad image all my life and I want it to go away. It’s like a curse. I’m walking down the street and no one will talk to me.”

Hoffman is taking his new persona to Australia on Feb. 10 to compete in a King of the Cage event. Hoffman has over 75 bouts under his belt and feels like he has a few more left before attempting to make a jump to professional wrestling.

“I’m on quest, I have about 10 fights left in me and then I’m going to professional wrestling and be like The Rock or Vin Diesel,” said Hoffman. “‘The Twisted Joker’ is going to become a professional wrestler. That’s my goal. In wrestling, you have to catch their eye. Everybody is a muscle head and a bad ass. You have to make people stop and look twice,” observed Hoffman.

Hoffman spent a couple months in Centerville with family before returning to Merced, Calif. last week. Hoffman will be training for his upcoming fight in Las Vegas with UFC fighter Frank Mir at the same facility where “The Ultimate Fighter” television show is filmed for Spike TV.

“If you want to find a rattlesnake, instead of walking along the highway you have to get right in his nest. So I’m getting right in the mix,” Hoffman said. Hoffman will also be forming a team known as “The Twisted Joker’s Fight Posse.” Hoffman stresses the importance of family values and wants members of his team to be positive role models.

“I want my posse to be in church on Sunday and out painting an elderly lady’s house that afternoon because she can’t do it or can’t afford it. Not at the freaking tavern drinking a beer and smoking a Marlboro. I want them to stop if someone has a flat tire and help them. I want people to see our emblem and feel safe,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman has had many offers from various fight organizations to get back in the ring. He compares himself to an older free agent player in the NFL that moves from team to team looking for the best deal. “I’m kind of a freelancer right now. I have the UFC wanting to tie me down to a 10-fight deal, but I ain’t doing it. I’m a free agent, it’s whoever offers the best package,” commented Hoffman.

Hoffman has some valuable advice for young fighters that want to get into the business. “There’s one thing young fighters must understand. There is drug testing. There’s no more Mickey Mouse bull [expletive],” exclaimed Hoffman. “They have very comprehensive testing. You can’t touch steroids. If I drank four sodas before a match they would say I had excessive caffeine. “My advice to young fighters would be don’t sign anything. I’ve seen kids sign their lifetime rights away because they’re not paying attention,” added Hoffman.

Although Hoffman has made mistakes in his life, he feels he has paid his dues and learned from his mistakes as he begins his final push toward his dreams. “Regardless of what the past has been like for me, I’m on a path with no nonsense,” commented Hoffman. “I ran into a conflict when I was out in California and got myself into a jam. All I want to say about it is that sometimes in life you do things that you regret and are unfortunate incidents, but they happen. You do what you do to make it right and you move on. And that’s all I can say about that, it’s as simple as that. I’ve paid my dues.”

With a new attitude and persona, Hoffman is unsure what the future will bring. “I wouldn’t mind going right into the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and seeing my face on the big screen but we’ll see how The Twisted Joker handles it,” added Hoffman.

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