Growing up idolizing UFC fighters, Sean Sherk never dreamed he would one day become one of the most dominant MMA fighters in the sport.
Sean Sherk: Profile & Stats
Full Name: Sean Keith Sherk
Nickname: "Muscle Shark"
Birthday: August 5, 1973
Hometown: St. Francis, Minnesota
Weight: 155 lbs.
Fighting Style(s) Used: Wrestling
Current Record: 35-2-1
Sean Sherk: Early Years
Since age seven, Sean Sherk has been an Ultimate Fighting Championship fan, growing up idolizing Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock but never dreamt he would actually become a UFC fighter. While with the Minnesota All Star team, Sean Sherk started wrestling in national and state tournaments. Later, the sport of judo interested Sean Sherk, who began training at Greg Nelson's Minnesota Martial Arts Academy - first in wrestling, then Muay Thai, and later in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Sean Sherk: MMA Career & the UFC
In 1999, Sean Sherk began his career in mixed martial arts (MMA), winning 12 fights in a row before the UFC picked him up in 2001. Sean Sherk debuted in UFC 30 in February 2001, defeating Tiki Ghosn in the second round and proceeding to go 5-0-1 in his next six bouts outside of the UFC Octagon. In March 2002, Sean Sherk returned to the UFC during UFC 36, defeating Jutaro Nakao by a unanimous decision. Later that year, Sean Sherk tallied another victory - this time over Benjii Radach at UFC 39.
In a battle for the UFC welterweight championship, Matt Hughes and Sean Sherk faced off inside the Octagon during UFC 42. After five rounds, Sean Sherk gave the champion Matt Hughes a run for his money but fell in five rounds - the first loss in Sean Sherk's professional MMA career. Following UFC 42, Sean Sherk reeled off 12 straight wins - competing in Extreme Combat, cagefighting, and the Japanese-based PRIDE fighting championship, to name a few. While fighting in Japan, Sean Sherk adopted his nickname "The Muscle Shark" since the Japanese word for "Sherk" is the same for "shark."
Sean Sherk: Calling it Quits?
From 2003-2004, Sean Sherk continued to fight (and win) but still could not catch UFC's eye. Sean Sherk retired from his MMA career after the birth of his first child, getting a job in the flooring business instead. It was in 2005 when Spike TV began airing a new television reality series The Ultimate Fighter, giving new fighters national exposure and helping the UFC gain more widespread popularity than ever before.
Sean Sherk wasn't "retired" for very long and started training once again for his MMA comeback. In September 2005, Sean Sherk defeated Joel Blanton during BP: Pride and Glory, snagging a invitation to fight against Georges St. Pierre - a fellow welterweight contender - in UFC 56. Although Sean Sherk suffered a TKO defeat, The Muscle Shark bounced back in UFC 59, defeating Nick Diaz and earning his first UFC win since 2002. After the win, Sean Sherk announced that he would compete in the lightweight division and - six months later - he did, becoming the UFC lightweight champion with a unanimous decision over Kenny Florian in UFC 64.
Sean Sherk: Current News
In July 2007, Sean Sherk took Hermes Franca to five rounds during UFC 73, winning by unanimous decision. Still known for his "wrestling fighting style and fearsome conditioning and strength," Sean The Muscle Shark Sherk is set to fight against "The Prodigy" BJ Penn for the UFC lightweight championship during the UFC 84: ILL WILL bout on May 24, 2008, in Las Vegas, Nevada's MGM Grand Garden Arena. Currently, Sean Sherk boasts an impressive 35-2-1 professional MMA record.