Ray Sefo has that itch again.
The 43-year-old former kickboxing champion, ex-MMA fighter and current president of the World Series of Fighting MMA promotion said in an interview Friday that he may return to professional kickboxing as soon as this year.
"I just got a text not too long ago from Ernesto Hoost," Sefo said in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report. "He's looking to fight again. He asked me if I was interested and I said, 'Yes, 100 percent.'"
As it happens, Hoost, 48, recently came out of an eight-year retirement, announcing on his personal Facebook page that he will face Thomas Stanley March 23 at a Japanese event known as the Hoost Cup. Sefo may join him later this year, though according to Sefo, the two will not face each other.
In February, Hoost broached the idea to Sefo on Twitter, and Sefo reciprocated with his own expression of interest:
@ernestohoost65 Nice let know my friend!!— Ray Sefo (@SugarRaySefo) February 9, 2014
According to Sefo, nothing is official, but informal conversations are ongoing. Sefo guessed that such a fight might happen later this year in Japan, potentially as part of a Hoost Cup event.
Sefo has not entered the kickboxing ring since 2012, and he hasn't competed extensively since 2008. In August 2013, he returned to the MMA cage to face Dave Huckaba, a bout he lost by TKO. The fight happened under the banner of Sefo's WSOF and helped foster interest in the card, particularly among hardcore combat sports fans.
Sefo is only 2-2 in MMA, but he's 56-22-1 in his kickboxing career, during which he captured several world titles. He is also a multi-time World Muay Thai champion.
Questions of safety and competitive validity will inevitably arise whenever an older fighter returns to the cage. Sefo, for one, is undeterred, emphasizing that he never officially retired and would like to fight two more times, once in Japan, where he first became a celebrity and earned many of his biggest kickboxing wins, and once in New Zealand, where he was born and raised.
"I'd like to fight in Japan one more time and New Zealand one more time," Sefo said. "I've never said I was done. We'll see how I feel. I know we can't do this forever. But I'm in the gym every day, either coaching or training. I feel good. I live very healthy. I still have the hunger and the itch and the passion to compete. I definitely would like to fight again."
UPDATE: This report previously stated that Sefo would be fighting Hoost. While the two have been discussing Sefo's return to fighting, there are no plans for the two to fight.
Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. For more, follow Scott on Twitter. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.