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By Matthew Wells and Nolan King

Age is just a number if you ask Houston Alexander.

A fighter who started his professional career in the early 2000s, Alexander is still going strong at 50 years old, and in an unlikely arena at that. MMA fans who have been around since the early days will likely remember Alexander’s UFC debut against Keith Jardine in 2007. It was a vicious performance in which Alexander finished the fight in just 48 seconds.

Fast forward nearly 15 years later, and “The Assassin” is still letting his hands fly, but now without gloves.

“At 50 years old, I feel pretty good,” Alexander told MMA Junkie. “You know, you take care of your body and I think I’m just as competitive as I was when I first started. So, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m excited about the bareknuckle deal.”

Last September, Alexander made his bareknuckle debut at BKFC 21 and scored a quick knockout against Wes Combs. In just 34 seconds, Alexander floored his opponent, but he nearly ruined the moment when his MMA instincts kicked in, and went in for follow-up shots after Combs hit the canvas. Luckily, he wasn’t disqualified and walked away with his hands raised after over 45 months away from competition.

“I’ve been doing a lot of things over the years besides fighting,” Alexander said. “I was working on the foundation, my Houston Alexander foundation, I’ve been doing speaking engagements, I’ve been doing seminars – I’ve been doing a little bit of everything, man. … Throughout these couple of years, I was just doing other things other than MMA. In between all that, I was training. I was sparring with some of the young guns that are coming up, and I’ve always kept my knives sharp.”

Staying active is one thing, but returning to compete in bareknuckle fights is another thing. Alexander has fought in a number of promotions throughout his career, including UFC and Bellator, but each time his hands were shielded with gloves.

“Fortunate for me, I’ve got all these calluses, rough skin, and all these broken bones.,” Alexander said. “My hands are already broken, but they’re broken in. … Even during pad rounds, we’ve been doing pad rounds with no gloves. So, my hands are equipped for this particular situation. Bareknuckle is something I’ve always done, and like coach says, it’s right up my alley.”

“The Assassin” plans to keep fighting as long as his body holds up and the success continues – and without having to worry about the wear and tear from grappling in MMA, he expects to last even longer. It’s not a tough conclusion for Alexander, who still spars in training often, so he might as well get paid for it.

“If I’m winning at this level, with people in my age group, why not?” Alexander questioned. “Why not continue to fight, and why not continue to do what I enjoy?”

At BKFC Fight Night: Omaha, Alexander will compete in his second professional bareknuckle about to toe the line against his opponent Jason Fish. The event takes place at Liberty First Credit Union Arena in Omaha, Neb. on Friday, May 13.

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