October 10, 2010

Mike PyleThe last time MMA fans saw Mike Pyle (17-9-1) in the Octagon, he slapped a triangle choke on Jesse Lennox, forcing a submission, and earning his second UFC victory.  The win served as a platform for Pyle to gain momentum and re-establish himself in the UFC’s 170-pound weight class.

After going 1-2 in his first three UFC contests, a win was a definite must for the Xtreme Couture fighter.  Now that he has the win, Pyle is as eager as ever to scrap with the UFC’s elite.

“Quicksand” is heading into this UFC 120 bout with John Hathaway (14-0) at a level of excitement not seen in most fighters.

The opportunity for Pyle came knocking when Dong Hyun Kim was forced to pull out of his scheduled bout with Hathaway due to injury. Needless to say, Pyle was enthusiastic and willing to take on the challenge opened up by Kim’s injury.

“I took it as soon as they asked,” Pyle said on MMAWeekly.com Radio.  “I think John Hathaway is going to be…in my mind (the) most challenging challenge in the UFC so far.”

It’s easy to see why Pyle would think this about his pending UFC 120 opponent.

“Young kid, athletic.  He’s got skills, man,” he said when breaking down Hathaway’s attributes.

John Hathaway is, indeed, a tough challenge for anyone fighting in the UFC’s welterweight division.  The young Englishman is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career with quality wins over the likes of Rick Story and “Ultimate Fighter Season One” winner Diego Sanchez.

Pyle gives the impression that he spends a great deal of time preparing to fight someone of the highest caliber, and that’s exactly the kind of fighter he expects to face at UFC 120.

“I don’t go and train everyday… to go fight, you know, scrubs,” said Pyle.  “John Hathaway is no scrub.  So I’m excited about this.”

In any good story there are protagonists and antagonists.  Fighting walks a similar line in the sense that many fighters are considered either “good guys” or “bad guys.”

Mike Pyle rather enjoys this image from the role of the antagonist or “bad guy.”  So it’s not only the opportunity to fight a tough opponent and claim his place in the 170-pound division, but Pyle also gets the chance to go to a foreign land and show up the hometown hero.

“I can’t wait to get there and be the bad guy,” exclaimed Pyle. “Every good story has a bad guy.”

Regardless of good versus bad, Pyle knows what his focus is heading into UFC 120.  Although the jeers from English fans are something he enjoys, it’s not what he’s after. There will be more important things at stake that night in London.

“I’m not there to get boos or cheers,” Pyle said. “I’m there to get a win over John, and I’m sure he’s there to do the same thing.  I look forward to giving him hell!”