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Kurt Angle has established worldwide recognition as a professional wrestler, actor and spokesperson since winning the gold medal in the 1996 Olympics. Known as one of the world’s toughest combat competitors, Kurt has more than 32 years of experience on the mat, and in the ring, and is still considered to be one of the world’s greatest amateur and professional wrestlers of all time.
Recently, we caught up with Kurt in London where he was promoting his upcoming TNA matches in the UK.
M&F: You still have a number of years left in pro wrestling terms, but there is no getting around the fact that as we get older, our metabolism slows down. Is this something you have learned to adapt to?
Kurt Angle: I have learned that, and a couple of years ago I put on extra weight. Some of that was to do with cleaning my life up, and some of it was because I’m 46 years old. I never really dieted when I was younger and I wish I had because eating right is good for your overall health. I didn’t think about longevity before, but now I do. My wife will joke with me, she’ll say “are you ever going to cheat on your diet“, because now I’m pretty strict. I try to make the best choices even when I’m on the road. I’m in great shape right now but it takes a lot of hard work.
Have you changed your approach to training over the years?
KA: These days I try not to do a lot of high impact workouts although I do run, and I believe that running helps with burning fat and keeps my knees strong. I run approximately three miles every other day. I still do weight training but the most impact I do is probably when I am jumping rope. I focus on each body part, and I like resistance training with bands. I love to swim, and do sprints in the pool. It’s low impact, you don’t get sore, and it’s great for you.
You have wrestled many of the greats, but is there anyone else out there that you would like to have a match with?
KA: Somebody I would love to wrestle is Daniel Bryan, before I retire. I remember years ago wanting to get in the ring with Shawn Michaels and we had some stellar matches. Now I’m looking at Daniel Bryan and I’m thinking I really want to wrestle him. I know he has had health issues but I believe he’ll be back. I’ve had my eye on Cesaro too. Pound-for-pound I have never seen anyone that strong.
What did you think of the Rousey vs. Holm fight?
KA: “She had a hell of a run. Ronda’s legacy will last an eternity. She is one of the biggest box office draws in UFC history and made female fighting popular in the main stream. Whether she continues to fight, or retires, she has made an everlasting impression on everyone”.
You considered stepping into the octagon yourself, could it still happen?
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KA: Never say never but it’s very unlikely. Over the years I have talked to Dana White a couple of times, and a number of other MMA promotions. I talked to Dana and the money was right, but the main issue was that I couldn’t let go of pro wrestling. A lot of the offers I got were conditional on me leaving pro wrestling. I understood that. So it’s 99% certain I won’t complete in MMA.
What advice would you give to the younger generation of pro wrestlers coming through?
KA: I would advise them to think more about career longevity. When your body is smashing through tables every night, you really only have so many matches left in you. Stay healthy. The only way you can become a superstar in this business is to be on TV every week. I broke my neck four times in two and half years. I missed a lot of TV time, then I rushed back. Stay smart and keep healthy.
You regained the World Championship in TNA last January in a classic match with Bobby Lashley. You looked very emotional after that win!
KA: I was. I came back from a serious knee injury and being 42 years of age, I got emotional because at this point in my career I wanted to go toe-to-toe with someone like Bobby Lashley. That’s why I got emotional, because I validated that I am just as good now as I was ten years ago. I think you have to know when to step aside, but after that match I realized I still have a lot to give.
What does the future hold for Kurt Angle?
KA: In addition to signing on to commentate with the Bellator Mixed Martial Arts group (which airs on Spike TV), I have also signed with the APA Agency hopefully to do more TV and movies. I’m also on tour doing Q&A sessions which is a lot of fun. These are exciting times.