Due to a myriad of cancellations in fights, Ohio middleweight prospect Tyler “The Shoot” Beckley hasn’t fought in nearly 11 months, but prior to his layoff, he had begun to build some solid momentum following the first loss of his career.
“I had a bad loss and I was pretty disappointed in myself, but I got right back in the saddle and went to some different states for fights (and got two straight wins),” said Beckley. “So all in all it went great because I rebounded from a bad, humiliating loss and finished out the year pretty strong.”
Rather than get discouraged about having multiple fights fall through, Beckley told MMAWeeky.com that he’s used the time to patch up what he feels was the weak spot in his game.
“When I came into MMA, I was a wrestler and that was it. I never had any official technical boxing or kickboxing training, so everything else was just building around it,” he said. “Jiu-jitsu came naturally to me being a wrestler and being comfortable on the ground, but the other parts of my game never really developed because I was taking a lot of fights and I wasn’t having a lot of time to sit down and focus on other things.
“(The layoff) gave me a lot of time to pinpoint areas of my game that I really needed work on, mainly my boxing.”
Not surprisingly, in what is slated to be Beckley’s first fight of 2012, he’s already gone through five opponents, the latest being Michigan-based Brad Johnson, who himself is coming off a three-year hiatus for their fight at NAAFS: Caged Fury 18 in Charleston, W.V., on Saturday night.
When asked if he has an advantage due to his opponent’s longer layoff or if he feels both their time off negates an advantage, Beckley responded, “It really depends on whatever he’s been doing in his off time.
“If he’s been sitting around eating potato chips or has he been in the gym, sparring and staying in shape, who knows? I don’t look at it either way, to tell you the truth; it’s kind of a wash. You’ve got to expect a guy coming in being his best the whole time.”
While Beckley might not have a specific game plan due to the numerous changes in opponent, he always carries the same strategy with him going into any fight, regardless of who he is facing.
“You’ve got to be ready for anything, but you look for tendencies he does and try to prepare for those,” he said. “It’s a fight and whatever happens, happens, but I like to act first. I like to be in the position of I’m not going to defend against what you’ve got, you’ve got to defend against what I’ve got.”
Now that he’s finally able to get in a fight, Beckley is hoping to keep busy the remainder of the year and end 2012 on a high note, starting with Saturday night.
“I might have something lined up for October and November, so while I’m down on weight and am in the best shape of my life, I want to keep it rolling,” he said. “I want just get out there and there and put on a really good performance. You never know who could be watching.”
(Photo courtesy of Tyler Beckley)