Former UFC fighter Kyle Noke has recounted the story of how he punched Steve Irwin to his knees several times during a training session.
The 42-year-old, who was The Crocodile Hunter’s bodyguard for several years, not only protected him, but also taught him how to fight.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Former UFC fighter Kyle Noke recounts the time he floored Steve Irwin.
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At the time, Noke was a professional fighter and Irwin was infatuated by mixed martial arts, but didn’t quite understand the complexities of it.
So much so, that he rushed Noke during a training session and ended up on the ground twice.
“When he first started to learn, he didn’t quite understand it,” Noke told reporters in Perth on Saturday ahead of UFC 284 at RAC Arena.
“He was like, ‘What happens if I just come charging at you though? If I just throw haymakers at you, are you still going to be able to get out of the way?’
“So I said, ‘Well, you just come at me and I will see if I can strike you’, so he just came charging at me with haymakers.”
It was a move that proved costly as The Crocodile Hunter learnt why you shouldn’t run at a skilled fighter with your arms flailing.
“I was able to jab him and then put a right hand on him, which dropped him to a knee,” the UFC veteran said.
“Then he got up and charged at me again and, after the second time I dropped him, he’s like, ‘Maybe we just stick to training the technical stuff’.”
‘The man was an animal‘
Noke became extremely close with Irwin while he was employed as the Aussie wildlife icon’s body guard, during which time the fighter also helped Irwin catch crocs.
The two bonded over mixed martial arts to the nth degree and, when they weren’t out wrestling monstrous reptiles, they were training together.
On some occasions, Irwin would get Noke to use his skills to fire him up.
“Steve loved training,” the Queensland local said on Saturday.
“Before he would do an interview, he would get me to punch him in the guts a few times because he didn’t want to talk to anyone, so that would get him hyped up for it.
“Then sometimes he would just come charging at me and ask me to knock him out a few times.
“The man was an animal, he loved fighting.”
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