Sylvia to make boxing debut against ex-boxing champ

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What do you do if you're a former multiple-time Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder and it's been eight months since your last MMA fight?

Why not make your professional boxing debut against an Olympic gold medalist and world heavyweight boxing champion?

That's exactly what No. 7-ranked MMA heavyweight Tim "Maine-iac" Sylvia is going to do.

As Sylvia recently confirmed with, he's going to step outside the cage and enter the squared circle in a headline bout against "Merciless" Ray Mercer on the Adrenaline III card scheduled to take place on May 30 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J.

"I'm going to give it a whirl," said a relaxed Sylvia from his current home base in Iowa. "Basically a fight's a fight, and I didn't have an MMA fight until July in the Affliction III (show), and we really wanted to fight before then.

"This opportunity came about -- and I've always wanted to try boxing at a pro level -- so we decided to take it and see what happens."

His scheduled opponent, Ray Mercer, is no stranger to fans outside of boxing, having competed in K-1 competition twice, losing to Akio "Musashi" Mori and Remy Bonjasky; as well as having lost an exhibition MMA bout to Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.

Sylvia has never been one to do things half-heartedly, as he admits, stepping in against a former Olympic and WBO champion for his first pro boxing match is par for the course for him.

"I'm jumping in the deep end," he chuckled. "I never have (done things half way). Look at the heavyweight (MMA) division; I've fought about seven of the top 10. So I might as well jump right in there and fight a guy that's ranked in the top 20 in the world."

Sylvia enters the match having lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his MMA career, to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko in 2008. Conversely, Mercer comes into their showdown winning in his last boxing match against Richel Hersisia last September.