by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
This past weekend a lot of the MMA community’s attention regarding the welterweight division was focused on Las Vegas, when it may have been better served looking to the Gracie Fighting Championships. There Mike Pyle, a training partner of Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin’s, decimated highly regarded Gracie Barra fighter Gustavo “Ximu” Machado in just over one minute to pick up his second win of the year.
“It was just like I hoped,” said Pyle of his win over Machado. “I was able to showcase my skills and get the job done without getting hurt. I knocked him out in the first round 1:26, which was it; you know not much to talk about when it lasts only 1:26 [laughs].”
Mike continued, “There was a point where we were in the clinch, I dominated there with knees and broke it with an elbow and backed him off. We exchanged some leg kicks and I caught him with a left hook right on the jaw and he went down. I went in and finished him off on the ground and the ref stopped by the fight.”
Machado had been highly touted coming initially out of the Ruas Vale Tudo team before joining Gracie Barra with wins over the likes of Kiyoshi Tamura, Nate Quarry and Allan Goes. But Pyle was not to be denied in his quest for respect and opportunity to climb the ladder towards a shot at the bigtime.
This fight marks the first time that Mike had knocked out an opponent after submitting nearly everyone he’s fought. As he explains, it’s a sign of his continued growth as a fighter and now opponents will have to worry about more than just his ground skills when fighting him.
“It feels great, like I said I’m showcasing my skills as well. I can submit a guy; wrestle, box, and those are the three main ingredients you need to be a successful Mixed Martial Artist,” explained Pyle. “I showcased that to everybody and now everybody knows that and they don’t know how to deal with me. They (Machado and company) kept the fight standing purposely I think, he never really tried to take me down, he kept it standing and that was his mistake.”
With the win Mike raises his record to 10-1-1 and he feels that sooner than later he’ll get his opportunity to truly make a name for himself in the sport. “With the people that I’m involved with I believe I can get in the UFC. I don’t want to be just a one or two time fighter and then you never really hear of me. I don’t want to be cannonfodder or a gatekeeper, I want to be the champ, so I want to make sure I’m really prepared for it. There’s a couple of opportunities out there, like the IFL, UFC, defending my title in the WEC, and I’ve been passed on information that can open doors overseas, so we’ll see.”
Pyle continued, “I’m in a dilemma and it’s a good dilemma. That’s the kind of thing I want, I don’t want to have to go stand on people’s doorsteps and say, ‘let me in.’ I’ve sparked interests and now there’s options and I want to be smart inside and outside the ring. I want to make sure I sit back, look at all the options, see everything’s on the table and see what’s in my future for what each direction holds. I want to see where my future is, not just the next couple fights, I want to always keep my options open and not burn any bridges and do this the right way.”
One of those people that Mike is involved with is Randy Couture. The two have been close training partners for over a year and have given each other their share of bumps, bruises, and black eyes in training. According to Pyle, Couture’s recent retirement from active fighting is bittersweet, while Mike’s sad to see Randy go, he knows first hand that Couture’s drive to compete and succeed is far from diminished.
“It was a sad day, losing as a team and him as an active fighter in the UFC was a sad memorable day,” said Pyle. “But it’s his time to concentrate on other things and he has to do what he wants to do. He’s an inspiration, a great guy, leader, and a great coach. Overall he’s a great person and just to be involved with him is an honor. I’m honored to be in his presence and be a part of his group. He’s still active with us, he still comes in and kicks our asses, he’s not done doing that [laughs].”
Mike feels that his time is coming soon, and as he closed out the interview he reiterated that not only should fans be on the lookout for him, but any possible opponents as well.
“First off all I’d like to thank WhosYourDaddyInc.com, Fizogen, Howard’s Combat Kimonos, and Xyience Training Center as well for their preparation in helping me get ready for the fight, giving me a place to train and good people to be around,” concluded Pyle. “I’ve got two wins in a row this year, whatever I do I will make the right step and everybody’s going to see me and know me. You have to be patient but I’m coming, I’m coming hard and I’m going to be the champ. Everyone in my weight classes, 170 and 185, watch out anyone I have to fight. I can do it all, punch, kick, wrestle, jiu-jitsu; I’m a complete fighter. I’m a happy fighter too, and a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter.”