by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
After successfully retaining his UFC heavyweight championship title against Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia returns to the octagon this Saturday to face American Top Team’s Jeff “The Snowman” Monson. Going into this fight, Tim will benefit from eleven inches in height and a substantial reach advantage over his shorter opponent. Sylvia recently spoke with MMAWeekly to discuss his upcoming fight and his desire to someday face Pride’s heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
Jeff Monson is a world class grappler with an obvious advantage on the ground. So how does Sylvia deal with a fighter like Monson? The champ explains.
“I have the best heavyweight takedown defense in the UFC. All through my career, people were trying to take me down,” stated Sylvia. “Everybody tries but when I drop my hips on them, they get discouraged.” In his nine UFC fights, no opponent has been able to take Sylvia down.
“I don’t think I’m going have any problems with him on the ground at all,” added Sylvia confidently. “He’s big and strong but he’s compact. I’m working a lot on getting back up. If I don’t get back up, then I’ll stay there and play the Jiu-Jitsu game with him.”
At UFC 48, Tim suffered a broken arm when he was submitted by Frank Mir via armbar. Mir won the vacant UFC heavyweight belt while Sylvia was kept out of competition for almost six months. Since then, the Miletich fighter regained his heavyweight title and is coming off two consecutive wins over the much heralded Andrei Arlovski. Although Sylvia isn’t looking past his opponent this Saturday, he anticipates an opportunity to rematch with Mir in the future.
“Everybody in the world knows I want to fight Frank Mir again. If it so happens that he doesn’t win [against Brandon Vera], I got no problem beating up Brandon Vera either,” said Sylvia.
“The only way it’s going to happen is if he and I both win on Saturday…or I lose two or three in a row and face him. Let’s just hope he wins,” added Tim. “I don’t want to lose two or three in a row just to fight him [laughs].”
Jeff Monson is an ADCC submission wrestling world champion and a UFC veteran. He currently enjoys a 16-fight winning streak and will be a formidable threat on the ground for Sylvia. Known for his sometimes brash political views, Monson is a self-proclaimed anarchist and is openly against the war in Iraq. The UFC champ commented on his opponent’s beliefs.
“As a fighter, I like Jeff. He’s been nothing but respectful to me and I’ve been respectful to him. I do not like the fact that he doesn’t support the troops and he says s*** about the president. That stuff irritates me,” said Sylvia. “He gets to live a dream and be a professional fighter because the troops are over dying for us and supporting us…yet he can’t show those troops a little respect?”
Current Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko is easily considered the best heavyweight and pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Sylvia expressed his desire to someday face the Russian fighter. “When I found out they [UFC] were trying to get Wanderlei [Silva], I called up Dana and said if you can get Wanderlei, can you get Fedor [Emelianenko] because I’ll fight Fedor,” said the Miletich fighter.
Unfortunately for fight fans, the chances of this fight coming to fruition is highly unlikely. “The UFC aren’t going to let me go over to Pride and fight Fedor because they want the Pay-Per-View buys and Pride is not going to let Fedor come over here and fight me because they also want the Pay-Per-View buys. Each organization has too much to lose.”
Recently, there have been speculation that Aleksander Emelianenko, the younger brother of Fedor, was in negotiations to fight in the UFC. Known for his quick hands and punching power, a potential match between Aleksander and the current UFC heavyweight champion is something that fans have dreamed about. “Maybe if I knock him out, Fedor will leave Pride and say I want to fight him for beating up my brother.”
“My goal is to become the best heavyweight fighter in the UFC. Right now I have accomplished that and I just want to keep it going. I want to be known as the best heavyweight of all time.”