by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
It’s safe to say that at the halfway point of this year, welterweight fighter Mike Pyle is already having a much-improved campaign over his 2006 experience.

Last year Pyle started off by successfully defending his WEC 170-pound championship against MMA veteran Shonie Carter, before dispatching of the always-tough Gustavo “Ximu” Machado just a couple short months later. So things were looking up, but went haywire shortly there after.

Upon entering into the IFL as a member of the Los Angeles Anacondas, Mike was upset by then unheralded Rory Markham in stunning fashion, ending a three-year eight-fight undefeated streak.

As the Anacondas went into season two of the IFL, Pyle opted to move up from welterweight to middleweight to allow training partner and reservist Jay Hieron to step into the team’s full-time 170-pound spot.

The move proved unsuccessful. Even though Mike won his first bout at the new weight, he lost for the second time in three fights when Matt Horwich of the Portland Wolfpack submitted him, en route to the Pack eliminating the Anacondas from the World Team Tournament.

Upon the end of the IFL season, Pyle decided a change was needed and thus left the promotion, striking back out as an individual fighter. He made the move along with his fellow training partners to the new Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, under the leadership of MMA living legend Randy Couture.

From there things have been decidedly looking up for Pyle as he won his first fight of the year, impressing for his new promotion EliteXC in its debut show in February against Ross Ebanez, and finding the stability at Xtreme Couture that he’s long wanted.

After a few months of helping his fellow teammates get ready for their fights, Pyle is once again ready to step back in the cage and keep his good year going. He returns to action on Friday in San Jose, Calif. for Strikeforce against Aaron Wetherspoon.

“Nothing really, just fishing, being a country boy, you know,” replied Pyle when asked what he’s been up to since EliteXC in February. “Teaching here at the gym, Xtreme Couture, and helping all the other guys train that were fighting as well. I’m still in the gym, [I’m] always in the gym.”

Now that Pyle’s done his duty to help his fellow Xtreme Couture teammates get ready for their fights, it’s been all focus ahead on his Strikeforce debut.

“I’m feeling great, I’m ready to go – I’m ready to go yesterday,” exclaimed Pyle. “I’m ready to do it. I got everything out of the way as far as getting everybody else ready, helping them, being in their corner for their fights. I supported them, and now everybody’s returning the favor, keeping me in shape, and now it’s my turn.”

Pyle has always been known as a fighter who speaks his mind, regardless of what others might think. Case in point is his response when questioned about what fans can expect to see from him in his fight against Wetherspoon.

“The same damn thing [as my last fight],” replied Mike. “Same thing…I mean, I can’t do it any better than I did last time, can I? You can always try, but it’s going to be the same damn thing, an ass whipping. You’ll see him sink in quicksand.”

Even though Pyle’s exuberance is one of his consistent traits, he’s even more so excited for this fight thinking that his opponent, Aaron Wetherspoon will come out and make it an action fight.

“I’m expecting him to come out and fight me,” stated Mike. “He’s going to fight, I’m going to fight. [We’ll] punch each other, maybe a little wrestling, maybe back each other up against the cage and then maybe go to the floor, punch each other in the face a little more – then I win.

“I always bring an exciting show. Win, lose or draw – I always bring a show. Following my career, people should know that already,” continued Pyle.

Should all go well this coming Friday, Mike is looking to continue to build upon the stability he’s found with the alliance of promotions connected to Showtime.

“We’ll just see what Showtime wants to do,” commented Pyle. “They’ve been treating me well so far, so let’s see if we can establish a good, solid relationship with them and take it from there.”

Mike added, “I’m just taking this one fight at a time. I’m stable now, in the second of a three fight contract, and I’d like to continue that.”

And, of course, there’s always the thriving Xtreme Couture gym to keep Pyle busy.

“It’s one of the best gyms in Vegas, or anywhere,” said Mike. “It’s crazy. We opened in February and since then we’ve had something like 300 students pouring in. You know, we’ve almost outgrown ourselves already.”

“Yep, we’ve got one of the best gyms and teams going on in MMA. They’re all great guys, good attitudes, good training ethics, and pretty damn good lookin’,” continued Pyle with a chuckle.

So with stability on his side, Mike Pyle is looking to make 2007 his year, continuing with his fight this Friday in San Jose, Calif. at Strikeforce.

“I want to thank Xtreme Couture, Couture Nutrition, Fizogen and Corrupt,” concluded Mike. “The fans can check out my fight, I’m headlining the undercard on ProElite.com free to the public live. So check it out, and all the fans will see what they usually do [from me]; a good fight that’ll probably end in a submission – that’s how I get down.”