Super Mario Balotelli - From MCFC to MMA?

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So what would Mario Balotelli be doing if he wasn't a footballer?  Well, according to the Manchester City striker himself - and this should probably come as no great surprise - he reckons he'd be entering the octagon...

Yes, Super Mario turns out to be - like a lot of sportsmen and women these days - a big fan of the UFC.  No great surprise, admittedly.  In the 70s and 80s it was boxing.  In the 90s  it was the WWF/E, so those looking for their flashy, big time fights on TV are likely to be drawn in 2012 to the world of MMA.

Here he is, revealing his love of UFC during an interview to promote the new Manchester City away kit.

So, for a bit of fun, could Mario make it in the UFC?

Well, he's certainly got the physique to do well as an MMA fighter - rangy, powerful and with a good bit of height about him, used to dealing with the physicality of leading the line in the Premier League.  And at just 21 years old time is on the Italian Euro 2012 striker's side if he wanted to start learning the skills.

Unfortunately for Super Mario, he's probably walking about at the moment at 176lbs (as much as we can tell from online stats and profiles).  That makes him just too heavy to be a welterweight, and just too light to be a middleweight.  So he'd have to either cut six pounds to enter the former division or put on nine pounds to really make an impact as a middleweight.

The latter's more likely - once he's bulked up a bit as a fighter, 185lbs would be a good fit for him.  Unfortunately, it's also just about the worst division anyone wanting to be an MMA star could enter - as it's packed with talent.  Already dominated by Brazilian sensation Anderson Silva, Mario would find himself up against the likes of Chris Weidman, Brian Stann, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Chael Sonnen.

Tough.  But his mixture of charisma, aggression and good looks, plus his age, all count in his favour.  Trained right, given the right opponent, it'd be easy to see Balotelli make the transition from pitch to cage relatively smoothly.

And who would that right opponent be?  Someone who has some MMA skills, but who can be defeated.  And ideally, a big name who the crowd will want to see getting beaten up in pretty short order.

Someone like this, in fact...

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