Carlton Cole got to grips with UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) star and West Ham United fan Jimi Manuwa during a special training session at Chadwell Heath this week.

The striker was put through his paces by Manuwa, who is undefeated in 12 bouts and goes by the deceptive nickname of 'The Posterboy', going through a series of boxing and kickboxing drills.

The pair then moved on to some grappling techniques on the indoor pitch, where an enthusiastic Cole quickly picked up the basics of mixed martial arts (MMA).

The No9 is a big fan of the emerging sport and had enjoyed swapping his football boots for fight gloves, explaining that the drills employed by Manuwa could be used by footballers working on improving their core strength. However, Cole admitted he would still prefer to enter the football pitch, rather than the UFC ring!

"It was really interesting because he wasn't a boxer. Boxers are different, because Jimi he is trained to hurt people!" said Cole. "Basically, he has got a different training regime to a footballer. He is all about fighting, getting in amongst it and getting jabbed and kicked and dishing the same out to his opponent. It was a bit aggressive for me and I wouldn't want to be in his position because it is a really tough sport.

"I am a big fan of the sport. I have a few DVDs of UFC fighting and Jimi recently got signed to the UFC, which is the big time in MMA. He has done really well and I am happy for him."

"We do a lot of core work and he does that as well because he has to be strong all-around. He taught me a few things about boxing and all round but hopefully I wont have to use that in football otherwise I will be sent off. There are similarities in the training and how intense it is."

Jimi Manuwa

While he is not planning to take up the sport himself, the England striker is planning to cheer on his new pal at an upcoming UFC promotion, where he will witness the result of all Manuwa's hard work in the gym.

"I have respect for him and his sport and I think he has the same respect for us as well because we have to train intensely as well. It is really hard stuff that he has to do every day. He probably only gets one day off a week leading up to his fights. It was different to see a different perspective of another sport."

"I am a big UFC fan, it's exciting to watch, there is always so much going on. Jimi has been doing really well and, on behalf of us here at West Ham United, we wish him well for his next fight and hope to see him visit us again here soon."

The two then switched roles and Cole helped Manuwa out with his penalty kick technique before the striker presented the light-heavyweight with a Hammers home shirt with the number 12 on the back - the number of wins he has chalked up since starting his MMA career in 2008. In exchange, Manuwa gave Cole a set of UFC gloves.

"It's been a privilege to come down to train with Coley," said Manuwa. "I'll definitely be supporting the Hammers in their upcoming season, and I hope he'll be able to make it to my next fight with the UFC, or even pop down to my gym to finish off his training!"

Jimi Manuwa