by MMAWeekly Radio / transcribed by Jeff Cain
Fresh off his impressive knockout win over Tra Telligman at UFC 54, Tim Sylvia recently spoke with MMAWeekly about his win, as well as rematches with both Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski. It was just four days after the event, and here’s what big Tim had to say.
MMAWeekly: Tim congratulations. Great win for you. What are you most happy about?
Tim Sylvia: I’m just happy that I won with a knockout, and I looked good doing it so.
MMAWeekly: Was it a tough fight?
Sylvia: Well it’s never a tough fight when it’s going to be a stand up fight for me. You know? That’s how I look at it. I’m a good stand up fighter, and if the guy’s going to stand toe to toe with me, he’s going to be in trouble.
MMAWeekly: The kick was amazing. That’s what everyones been talking about. You and I were talking right after the fight, and I made the comment that you did the smart thing working the kicks lower, and then you moved up to the body, and then of course the high kick. How come we haven’t seen a high kick from you before?
Sylvia: Um, I’ve always just been so concerned about being taken down and stuff, and I don’t know. It’s weird how it happened, but I just knew I was in phenomenal shape, and my take down defense has gotten so good. There’s guys that can’t take me down, Travis Wuiff, and Whitehead has a hard time doing it now and stuff. And I was like if these world class college wrestlers can’t take me down, Tra Telligman’s not going to take me down.
MMAWeekly: Tim you’re 21-2. Your only two loses are to Arlovski and Mir in your career. Are people selling you short right now?
Sylvia: You know, people have been selling me short, and that’s just the way it goes in this industry. You’re as good as your last fight, so now I’m going to be a superstar I’m sure because I just knocked someone out. That’s just the way this sport is for some reason.
MMAWeekly: How quick do you think you’re going be back in that hunt? Do you think it’s going to be three more fights, two more fights, you know before you get back in there for that title shot?
Sylvia: I’m thinking at least probably one more fight. I have one more fight on my contract, so the UFC’s probably going to have me do one more fight, and then resign me as long as I win that next fight I’m guessing. But as you know the heavyweight division is really thin, so if he’s lucky, and I shouldn’t say lucky. I actually think he’s got a pretty good shot at beating Buentello. But you know he beats him, and who is next? You know?
MMAWeekly: You mention Arlovski vs Buentello, how do you see that fight? Does Paul Buentello have a shot to win this fight?
Sylvia: He’s definitely got a shot. I mean he’s a banger. You know? He hits hard. He knocked out my boy Justin [Eilers], so he’s definitely got a shot. And he’s got good hands, but it depends on how smart Arlovski’s going to fight. I’m sure Arlovski’s going to fight him like he fought me, and be in and out. You know, try to hit real quick, and get the hell out of there. Utilize his kicks. If he stands toe to toe and tries to bang, you know Buentello could hit him with that uppercut that he uses so well.
MMAWeekly: Tim obviously you want another shot at Arlovski. That’s something you’ve made very clear.
MMAWeekly: Talk about how you feel this fight, when ever it does happen, will be different from the first fight.
Sylvia: How is it going to be different? I’m going to knock his ass out. That’s how it’s going to be different.
MMAWeekly: Talk about that first fight because I know it’s so disappointing for you.
Sylvia: Yeah it was disappointing. I just prepared for a big stand up fight, and he surprised me. You know? And that happens unfortunately. I learned a little something something in that fight.
MMAWeekly: And a second time around you just feel you’re a different fighter, or what?
Sylvia: I definitely feel like a different fighter. Working with Billy Rush, everyone has told me I moved really well. I’m moving a lot better now. I’m on my toes. I’m lighter. I’m in better shape, and I’m going to be moving like Arlovski moves, so it’s going to be looking like two 185 pounders moving in there, and someone’s going to get caught.
MMAWeekly: Obviously your stand up is amazing. We’ve seen it before. We saw it against Arlovski for that quick second before you hit the ground. The one thing I’m worried about when you fight Arlovski is your ground game. What are you working on right now that you can tell us that is going to keep the fight, whether it does go to the ground, in the positions where you want it to be, you on top, in his guard, banging away on him. What are you doing to make sure that he doesn’t get around your ankles or your knees.
Sylvia: Billy had me doing a bunch of agility stuff as well on the ground. You know, hopping back up real quick, moving hips, and stuff like that. The main thing is to get into a scramble with him. Don’t, you know, if you get on the ground immediately cause a scramble, and get the hell back up. I think that’s the main thing. You can’t be flat. You’ve got to make sure your hips are moving as fast as possible…As soon as you slow down and the smaller man’s is quicker than you, he’s going to lock down and start working submissions, or go after strikes on the ground.
MMAWeekly: You look at what some of the guys have been doing. You know like Randy Couture training with Trigg and Rampage. You actually went out to Utah to kind of mix it up. Does mixing it up help you?
Sylvia: I think it does help you. I think all fighters need to do that. You get comfortable in certain situations, and you don’t train as hard because you get used to your sparring partners. You know what they’re going to do. You know how they train, so you could be lazy in certain situations and stuff like that, so I think changing it up is a huge help in this sport…That’s what I needed. I really needed to change it up.
MMAWeekly: So are3 you going to train from now on in Utah, or Iowa? Which are you going to do?
Sylvia: I’ll decide that when the time comes. I like the altitude in Utah. I like the environment. It’s a great gym up there. You know Jeremy Horn’s amazing, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’ll never train without Billy Rush again, so it all depends on where Billy is, and if he feels like coming to Iowa, or I have to go to Cincinnati, or I got to go to Utah. You know? I’ve got some good workout partners in Iowa, and I’d like to keep those guys and stuff. It all has to do with my training partners as well. You know?
MMAWeekly: You talk a lot about Billy Rush. You say you’ll never train without him. What are the things he did for you that made you say hey I’m never going to train without this guy?
Sylvia: He was just dead on my diet…My agility. I mean I watched the fight. I was on my toes. I was fast. I kept my hands up. I was moving in and out, and I just felt extremely light on my fight, and I did not get tired. You know I swung that head kick at the end of five minutes, and it was like, it was just like a sparring session. I just felt so good in that fight.
MMAWeekly: Who do you think your next opponent will be?
Sylvia: I don’t know. I have no idea who my next opponent’s going to be. I don’t really care. I just want to fight again. I’d like to fight as soon as possible…You know maybe Frank Mir will want to fight me. He didn’t want to fight Arlovski. He wasn’t healthy enough, but maybe in a couple of months he’ll be able to fight, and it would be a good fight. I really want that fight real bad.
MMAWeekly: So if they offered that fight in say December, you want Mir?
MMAWeekly: Alright. I’d like to see that. It would be a good battle. Well Tim it’s been good. It’s always good talking to you.
Sylvia: There’s one thing I’d like to say. I’d like to wish Tra the best of luck with getting healthy. I heard he’s fine, but I want to apologize for maybe over celebrating a little too much. I didn’t realize how bad he was hurt. That’s not me. I’m just glad that he was able to fight, and hopefully he’ll return again, and fight again.
MMAWeekly: Very cool Tim. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Sylvia: No problem guys.