by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
After exploding onto the national mixed martial arts scene with his impressive victory over David Heath at UFC 81, Tim Boetsch was out of the promotion just one short year later.

An admittedly poor performance in a loss to Jason Brilz at UFC 96 sealed his fate with the company, splitting his Octagon record at 2-2. Now, five months later Boetsch begins his comeback trail.

“I’m feeling really good,” exclaimed Boetsch to MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve been training out here in Kirkland with Matt Hume, wanted to do some new stuff, doing a lot more cardio and I feel really excited about getting back into the cage and perform.”

Following in the footsteps of fellow Monte Cox-managed fighter Rich Franklin, Boetsch feels the move to Hume’s AMC Pankration will give him the edge he needs to climb back up the light-heavyweight ranks.

“I came out a couple months ago before Rich’s last fight and did 10 days here; I really liked what I saw,” said Boetsch. “The knowledge that Matt Hume has, his philosophies on the sport and the innovative stuff that he’s teaching, I wanted to be part of that.

“I got the invitation to come back and prep for this fight and I jumped all over it. I think this is where I’m going to be calling my camp for fights from now on, because I really like the things we’re doing, the attitudes and the training partners and coaches out here.”

Boetsch’s first test back will be at this Saturday’s King of the Cage event in Everett, Wash., against former International Fight League (IFL) fighter Aaron Stark, who is currently riding a six-fight winning streak.

Boetsch feels that Stark is very similar in nature to Brilz, and thus will go in with a game plan centered on avoiding the pitfalls of the earlier bout.

“Specifically for this fight we’ve been working a lot of different ground techniques, ways of escaping and standing up, and preventing the fight from slowing down and my opponent holding me down,” stated Boetsch. “In my last fight that was really the big weakness, was I allowed my opponent to hold me down.

“Going into this fight, it’s a very similar opponent who tries to implement that game plan in most of his fights. So that was definitely one thing we wanted to target: basically getting off the bottom and getting the fight back on our feet where I feel my striking is dominant over my opponents.”

Not only does Boetsch have his usual will to win, but he’s also extra motivated to remove the bad memories of his fight with Brilz in the minds of fans and promoters alike.

“That last performance was subpar for me,” he admitted. “I was really disappointed in myself and what I did that night. I’ve put that behind me, and I’m looking towards the future.

“It really made me open my eyes and say that I really need to start working with professionals at a legitimate training camp and get the kind of coaching a guy at my level should get. I definitely want to get back into the cage and show people that I am a top level athlete.”

Should he emerge unscathed from his fight with Stark, Boetsch wants to waste no time getting back into action and continuing his ascension.

“If coming out of this fight I’m healthy, I’d like to take something within the next six weeks or so,” he stated. “I’m a fighter who likes to stay busy and active, so I’d definitely like to get in a couple more this year.”

Motivated to regain his status as one of the up and coming light-heavyweights in the world, Boetsch beings his journey towards redemption this Saturday, confident that his time will come once again.

“I just want to say thanks to the fans for their support,” he said. “Get out to Comcast Arena here in Everett. It’s going to be a great show.

“There’s a bunch of fighters from Matt’s school, AMC (Pankration), so it’s going to be a great show and I hope to see everybody there. Come watch the big boys throw down.”