by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
For Mike “Quicksand” Pyle, 2009 was a bittersweet year.
He achieved his lifelong goal of joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but lost to Brock Larson in his first bout for the promotion in May, ending a four-fight winning streak.
He rebounded, however, with an impressive win over Chris Wilson four months later, to even out his UFC record at 1-1.
It is with that win that Pyle hopes to build success as he heads into his first fight of 2010 at Saturday’s UFC 108 in Las Vegas.
“I feel great,” Pyle told MMAWeekly.com recently. “I had great a training camp, I’m healthy, and you can’t ask for much more.”
His upbeat attitude comes as a distinct change from earlier in the year following his UFC 98 debut.
“The year was good, but it could have went better,” admitted Pyle. “I had that loss to Brock and it wasn’t a very good first showing in the UFC if you ask me. It is what it is, and I got past that.
“I was able to get in there and finish Chris Wilson – which a lot of UFC weren’t able to do – so I was glad to do that.”
While his year was split inside the cage, Pyle feels he was able to improve in his fight game, especially in one area.
“I think I have better strength and conditioning,” he stated. “I really focus on that a whole lot more and I believe that will be able to unfold during the fight and carry me through the later rounds if need be.
“I’m confident in my ability to get in there and really push the pace and grind it out if I have to.”
At UFC 108 Pyle faces young up-and-comer Jake Ellenberger, who is coming off a disappointing UFC debut of his own in September to Carlos Condit.
“It’s no big secret I like my submissions. I like to get in there and try to finish the guy,” said Pyle of his strategy for Ellenberger. “My record stands for itself as far as getting in there and finishing people, so I’d like to keep that up.”
Not only is he confident in his ground game, but Pyle also feels the caliber of athletes he’s fought and trained with could be key factors in the fight.
“I have been in there with high caliber guys and hopefully that will be an upper hand for me,” he commented. “I think it’s a possibility that due to my training camp and the kind of guys that I’ve got in my camp and I train with gives me a good upper hand.”
As for his goals for 2010, Pyle is choosing to keep things as simple as possible.
“I think it goes without saying that I want to go in there and get a win,” he stated. “That’s the main thing I’m focusing on is getting there and taking advantage of my level of experience, try to bring that into the fight and also try to do the same the rest of the year.
“Represent the (Xtreme Couture) team, just keep winning, and make sure I do my best and train hard and fight hard to the best of my abilities throughout the year.”
Having picked up his first UFC win and looking to add a second on Saturday night, Pyle could find himself in welterweight title contention this year should he keep his positive attitude going and wins stacking up.
“I want to thank all my sponsors, all my team members and everyone who’s helped me prepare for the fight – you know who you are,” he concluded. “Thanks to the UFC for letting me get in there and mix it up, and to the fans for supporting me.
“Just come watch the show, tune in and look for another victory, another guy sinking in quicksand.”