Tim Sylvia Hopes to Parlay a ONE FC: Rise to Power Victory into a UFC Return

May 13, 2013
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Tim SylviaFormer UFC heavyweight titleholder Tim Sylvia takes on Tony Johnson on May 31 at ONE FC: Rise to Power in Pasay City, Philippines, and hopes to re-energize his career with a win.

Sylvia (31-8-1) has held the UFC heavyweight title.  He’s fought on the biggest stages in mixed martial arts. But at 37 years old he finds himself at a crossroad.  He’s either going to be a nice addition to Johnson’s resume or recapture some of his previous glory.

“Well, he’s going to have it, it’s just going to be, ‘I was knocked out by Tim Sylvia.’  He can have it all he wants, I just don’t know if he wants those words after it, but that’s what’s going to happen,” Sylvia recently told MMAWeekly.com content partner Knockout Radio.

Sylvia knows the door is closing on his career and would like to make another run in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he is tied for the most title defenses in the heavyweight division.

“Well I’m 37, so my ultimate goal was to be done around 40, 41 at the very latest,” said Sylvia.

“No one has beat my record, yet.  Randy (Couture) and I have tied it.  I don’t know what is going to happen in the future of the UFC heavyweight division.  Ideally I would like to finish out my career where it started and that is in the UFC.  There’s great fights out there for me and I’d like to put on a great show for the fans on the biggest stage there is, and that’s obviously the UFC,” he said.

Sylvia departed the UFC in 2008 after requesting to be released following his UFC 81 loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with one fight remaining on his contract.

“Randy will never be back in the UFC, but there’s a chance I probably won’t either, so what do you know?  It almost happened, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully there’s still an opportunity for me to go back,” he said.

Sylvia feels he has unfinished business in the UFC, particularly with Frank Mir.

Asked who he’d like to fight in the Octagon, Sylvia answered without hesitation.  “Frank Mir, first and foremost,” he responded.  “You know, unfinished business man.  He broke my arm and I wanted to keep fighting and they wouldn’t let me, so I’m irritated.”

Sylvia threw out another name, Pat Barry, even though the two are actually friends.

“I’d like to fight a striker so that we could put on a good show.  I have a good friend, Pat Barry, who is in the UFC.  I think if him and I fought it would be Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night.  Someone would go to sleep and it would be Fight of the Night,” said Sylvia.  “We might be able to score both of them.  One of us gets Knockout of the Night and Fight of the Night.  We’d put on a good show. We’ve had some good sparring sessions so it would be a good fight for the fans.

“I know he brings it and so do I, so something bad is going to happen to one of us,” he added.

Before Sylvia has any hope of returning to the UFC, he has to get past Johnson at ONE FC: Rise to Power on May 31.

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  • Sean

    I doubt Dana will let him back in the UFC, but if big Tim wins his fight,and maybe one more fight, I think it would be more then fair to let him back in the UFC, Sign him for one fight, see how he does, at least give him a chance, he put on some damn good fights for us real mma fans.

    I can think of a few fights in the UFC that would be fun with Tim, I would like to see him fight Mir, or mitrione,or even Duffee. There are for sure some great fights for him. I hope someday he gets back in the UFC.

    • urdooomb

      The problem is, of course, Timmay is not willing to get paid like Duffee, Barry, or Mitrione.

      He will ask at least 150k per fight, and this is a steep discount from what he was getting immediately prior to his exit from the UFC.

      That is where things don’t make sense for the UFC. Why pay a guy $150k to make him fight Pat Barry or Mitrione????????

    • urdooomb

      That is also the issue with Barnett and Arlovski as well. Dana doesn’t hate them to a point where he would refuse to sign them out of personal hate.

      Barnett and Arlovski will easily ask for $200k ~300k, which is what is being paid out to top HWs.

  • bajafox

    If he does win he would make a decent “field filler” in the HW division, but he will never have another title run.

    There are a good few match ups he could have in the UFC before he can call it a career.

    • urdooomb

      he is too expensive. And he is getting KOed by nobodies in minor leagues.

      Paying him $200k to see a close decision win/loss to Matt Mitrione doesn’t sound like a good deal for Zuffa.

      • bajafox

        Affliction paid him something like $400k for his loss to Fedor. If Tim is serious about going back to the UFC, he needs to realize he will need to take a serious pay cut. He’s not even worth mid card salary, IMHO, but there are some fights that would be interesting to see before he retires.

        • tough iffy

          It was 800k

          • bajafox

            Ouch, no wonder Affliction is history as a promoter

          • urdooomb

            Sylvia is not going to cut down to $80k just for the sake of fighting in the UFC buddy.

            If One FC offers $90k, he would go fight there instead of the UFC for $80k.

          • bajafox

            I guess we’ll find out how badly he wants to be in the UFC when he gets a low ball offer

          • urdooomb

            What he wants is a way back to UFC with a pay raise. he wants to do well at his current place, build up hype, and then get a decent contract with the UFC.

            I highly doubt he wants to go back just for the sake of going back.

  • Jew Jitsu

    i was hoping arlovski won his last fight which i think he did, the only round i had johnson wining is the first and he spent the 2nd and 3rd getting stuffed and stuff but whatever. i was disappointed though with that cuz i want to see arlovski get back and to be honest i wouldnt mind seeing sylvia come back even though he is just an average heavyweight at best. but dang dude isnt it about time to stop hoping and start putting on good enough performances where it shouldnt even be a question? ill see an article of tim talking about getting back to the ufc and all this but he ends up losing his upcoming fight or the one right after that. but if he is asking for cain or jds money i wouldnt bring him back, hell i wouldnt even bring em back for kongo money. not trying to strait bash him cuz by all accounts he is a good dude but thats not enough to get into the big show.

  • Stefano ‘Zwonimir’ Sega Nogaro

    Too expensive, a bit over the hill, and Satoshi Ishii is far better than him …

  • drkdisciple

    Over the hill …..hope I don’t ever see him or Arlovski in the UFC!

  • Jason Decipher

    I doubt Tim would ask for that kind of money he knows his stock has gone down significantly which gives UFC the ultimate bargaining power (if they were to make an offer). Tim has always put on good fights & yes win or lose there’s alot of interesting match ups for him regardless of who’s put in front of him. He’s alot more humble now don’t assume he will be too expensive if he’s desperate to Finnish his career in UFC

  • MuayThaiFood

    Why does anyone really care how much Dana is willing to pay him or how much Tim will fight for? The real question is who really wants to see him fight? If you think Mir vs Cormier was boring ( and you should) then Mir vs Sylvia will be a snoozefest for the ages.


    he is fat, slow and irrelevant, no way coming back to the UFC

  • Mark McDowall

    While we’re at it lets bring back that fat sumo wrestler from UFC 1…and I bet Dan Sevren will be up for it too. Tim Sylvia is never going to step foot in the octagon again. He is soooo far below the level of the current UFC HW’s that it would be dangerous to put him in the cage with them…