Exclusive Q&A with Tim Boetsch: “I plan on taking out Bisping”

Posted: April 12, 2012 in Commentary/Opinion, Cool Stuff We Like, Interviews, Latest news, UFC Events
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I recently had the good fortune to interview middleweight top contender Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch. And in spite of his moniker, Tim couldn’t be a nicer fellow…that is until he starts talking about his plans to take care of Michael Bisping and eventually Anderson Silva. Make no mistake fight fans, Tim Boetsch is the dark horse in the UFC Middleweight Division to dethrone incumbent champ Anderson Silva. Tim will first have to get by perennial top dog Michael Bisping at UFC 148, but according to Tim, he’s not only going to win, he’s going to do so in exciting fashion:

Absolutely I’m willing to stand in there with him. I mean, he’s got good hands but I don’t think he’s got the type of hands that can knock anybody unconscious…And if he can hit me, guess what, I can hit him and as soon as I touch him, he’s going to be re-thinking his gameplan.

Tim goes on to talk about his famous comeback against Yushin Okami at UFC 144, why he’s no longer on his “coffee and pop tart” diet and why he thinks he’s the one to take out about the almighty Anderson Silva:

“Everybody has got to lose eventually and I think his time is coming and I would certainly like to be the first one to take him out”

A can’t-miss, candid interview with one of the most exciting (and nicest guys) in the UFC. Enjoy!

VigilanteMMA: We all know of your wrestling pedigree, with you being a 4x state champ and collegiate wrestler at Lock Haven in PA, but not a lot of people know you also have a background in some traditional martial arts. Tell us a bit about your martial arts background.

Tim Boetsch: Well, like you said, I wrestled my whole life but I had taken an interest in JKD when I was young and I got a Bruce Lee book and I read The Tao of Jeet Kune Do and me and my buddies would practice all of the moves in there. So that was really my first introduction to martial arts…was through Bruce Lee and I really just enjoyed spending time trying to perfect the techniques that we saw him doing.

VigilanteMMA: Very cool. Have you ever used concepts like trapping inside the cage?

Tim Boetsch: Um, well you know there are so many variations of what you can do in there, but as far as trapping, and that sort of thing, I haven’t really used those specific techniques, but I really just focus on mixing things together and finding out what works best for my style of fighting.

VigilanteMMA: Nice, so you’re really taking the basic concept of JKD, which is to use what’s effective, and applying that in the cage.

Tim Boetsch: Yeah, you’re exactly right.

VigilanteMMA: So moving on, you’ve had two different tenures with the UFC, once as a light heavyweight and currently as a middleweight. What ultimately made you drop down in weight and do you ever foresee yourself going back up to 205?

Tim Boetsch: Well, the reason I dropped was because I lost that fight to Phil Davis after having a perfect training camp and really going into the fight feeling great and being 100% confident that I was going to win. And then for whatever reason I got caught with my arm behind my back and got submitted by a very strange submission and that really just made a light bulb go on in my head that maybe I needed to make some changes. And really changing weight was the only thing I had control over that I could do differently. And it’s certainly paying dividends now and I’m very happy that I dropped down to middleweight. But as far as going back up to light heavyweight, I’m not going to say I won’t do it but I definitely have my work cut out for me at middleweight and until I do what I came to do at middleweight I don’t see myself moving back and forth.

VigilanteMMA: And all of your efforts really paid off in your fight with Yushin Okami at UFC 144, which would ultimately become one of the best comebacks in UFC history. After a tough first couple of rounds, you came back with a vicious TKO. Tell us about your mindset during the fight? Were you consciously going for the KO in the 3rd round?

Tim Boetsch: Well, going into round 3 I knew I had to finish him to win the fight. I knew certainly that I was way behind on the scorecards but during rounds 1 and 2, honestly I didn’t feel that bad. Round 1, and I’ve watched the fight several times after; it wasn’t going the way I anticipated but I didn’t feel that I was that far out of the fight in round 1. Certainly he was outscoring me and controlling the range better, his hands were faster than I anticipated, so I was dealing with those issues, but my mind wasn’t out of the fight. I definitely knew that if I was able to change it up a little bit and start dictating the fight that I certainly could get back in there. Then in round 2, I was right in my corner when I went for the guillotine and I was looking at Matt in the eyes and I was like “do I go for this?” because I hate giving up position to go for a submission and sure enough my mind was right, I probably shouldn’t have gone for it because as soon as I went for it, I ended up getting mounted and finished the round with him punching down on me. But even then when he had me mounted and was throwing punches down, my mind was still in the fight and I knew he wasn’t going to finish me there. I didn’t feel like I was getting hit that hard or that often, so I didn’t feel like the ref was going to jump in and stop it. So I knew I had one more round. And then going into round 3, Matt just came in and said, “you know, if you catch him you can finish him” and that’s what we worked on the whole camp, was just closing that distance and not letting him run and control the range. So in going into round 3 I knew I had to get in his face and hit him. My gas tank was full, my cardio felt great and most importantly my mind was in the fight. I knew that I could still win in that 3rd round. And when I came out for the 3rd round, Matt just said be aggressive and get him and that’s what I did. I went out there and put the pressure on and didn’t stop until he fell down.

VigilanteMMA: And not only did you muster up a great comeback, you did so in innovative fashion. I’ve never seen that punch used before. It looked like a modified uppercut of sorts.

Tim Boetsch: Yeah, it was like an uppercut slash shovel hook sort of thing. My left hand was controlling his head and pulling him down, so it was just a very strange angle to be throwing a punch. But I throw that punch quite a bit in practice and it actually lands a surprising amount, just because I think it comes from such a weird angle, people aren’t ready for it.

VigilanteMMA: Now on a 3 fight win streak, you arguably have the biggest fight of your career coming up against Michael Bisping at UFC 148. Do you foresee this fight as a #1 contender fight?

Tim Boetsch: Absolutely, in my mind it should be. Bisping put on a great show against Chael and I think some people had it scored that Bisping actually beat Chael in that fight, so some people could argue that Bisping should be fighting for the title right now. So certainly he’s right there at the top of the ladder and I think if he was able to knock me off he would get the title shot and I hope they do the same thing for me when I beat him.

VigilanteMMA: Incidentally, how did you score their fight?

Tim Boetsch: Personally, I thought Bisping won the fight pretty clearly. I was really surprised how well he was able to prevent Chael from taking him down. When the fight started I said Chael was going to run through him and ground and pound him and maybe submit him, and then when Chael couldn’t finish a takedown, I was thinking “Wow, Bisping’s going win.”

VigilanteMMA: So let’s talk about your fight against Bisping. Certainly you have the wrestling advantage over Bisping, but you’re also a guy that’s not afraid to exchange punches. Will your gameplan be any different when you’re fighting a stand-up fighter like Bisping or are you willing to stand in there and trade punches?

Tim Boetsch: Absolutely I’m willing to stand in there with him. I mean, he’s got good hands but I don’t think he’s got the type of hands that can knock anybody unconscious even if you stand right in front of him. So I’m not afraid of his power. Certainly he is a very good boxer and he’s going to land some punches but I don’t think they’re the kind of punches that are going to hurt my coconut head that bad so I think I can stand right in there. And if he can hit me, guess what, I can hit him and as soon as I touch him, he’s going to be re-thinking his gameplan.

VigilanteMMA: Nice. I know a bunch of people that are going to be happy to see you do just that. As you know, Michael Bisping is a very polarizing figure in the sport of MMA. Do you have any personal feelings good or bad regarding Bisping? Does it help or hurt when a fight is “personal?”

Tim Boetsch: It can go either way, personally I don’t know the guy so I can’t really make that call but I can say that when I was first flirting with getting into the UFC I knew that I wanted to fight Bisping.

VigilanteMMA: Really? Why is that?

Tim Boetsch: I don’t know…I just remember seeing him on the Ultimate Fighter and thinking he was very beatable and at that time we were both at light heavyweight and I was telling everybody that I would love to get that fight. And here we are a few years later and certainly the stakes are a lot higher. We’re both in title contention and flirting with the top of the ladder here and sure enough we’re going to meet so I guess I better put my money where my mouth is and go beat him up.

VigilanteMMA: And like you said, here we are now just months away from your fight. That said, I noticed on your website that you just started training for your fight, which is still 4 months away. Do you always have such long camps?

Tim Boetsch: No, that was kind of the luxury of being a light heavyweight is that I didn’t have to train as hard and as consistently as I do now but right now it’s just a battle of keeping my weight down and keeping my conditioning where it needs to be. The real hard core training will start about 9 or 10 weeks out. So certainly we’re at that pre-training phase so we’ll be able to go into camp and blast in hard and make sure I peak at the right time.

VigilanteMMA: And that kind of leads into my next question. One of your sponsors is Feel It Nutrition. I would imagine with your line of work that nutrition has to play a huge role in your life, especially now fighting at middleweight. Tell us a little about your daily in-camp diet.

Tim Boetsch: Yeah absolutely. I actually have a great nutritionist slash dietician, it’s a guy I went to college with named Ryan Matter, and he works one on one with me. He comes up when I train and keeps a close eye on me and adjusts my intake levels, even on a daily basis as we get closer to the fight. When I first started fighting, I was on like a “pop tart and coffee diet” and didn’t pay any attention at all to it, but now that I actually understand how important nutrition is, and how much a difference it’ll make it your conditioning and just overall performance, I stick to a real solid diet. It’s basically just common sense really, anything that’s over-processed, or really simple sugars, or anything like that, just stay away from it. The more natural, now I don’t advocate all organic stuff just because it’s so expensive and I’m cheap, but I’m a big hunter so a lot of meat that I eat is organic because I killed it in the woods. As far as vegetables and stuff, I just get fresh vegetables from the grocery store. Spinach seems like something I eat every meal, so just good solid food you know? And obviously with fighting you burn a lot of calories so I eat a whole bunch of meals during the day. So I’m taking in around 5000 calories a day when I’m training hard.

VigilanteMMA: You had mentioned being a avid hunter, can I assume that’s where you spend most of your time between camps?

Tim Boetsch: Absolutely! In the fall I try to tell my manager not to schedule any fights around hunting season because I get upset when I can’t go hunting.

VigilanteMMA: Changing subjects a bit, in MMA a lot of times people really don’t understand records because they’re used to seeing boxing records and things like that. You on the other hand have a very impressive MMA record of 19-4. That said, out of your 4 losses, would you want to re-match any one of those fights?

Tim Boetsch: Yeah, I’d like to redo all of those. Here’s the thing, I really felt like I in all of those fights, with the exception of maybe the Brilz fight where I just didn’t show up. But on any other day when my mind is clear, and I actually showed up and fight, I feel like I should beat Jason Brilz 9 times out of 10. So yeah, I definitely would like to get every one of those fights back. And maybe if I do a few things right I can get a few of those re-matches with those guys. Certainly losing does teach you a lot and it’s just part of your career as a fighter and hopefully you just grow from it and move forward and become a better fighter.

VigilanteMMA: As we kind of touched on, let’s look into a crystal ball here and pretend you get Anderson next. Here’s kind of how I see it. Chael showed that wrestling is Anderson’s kryptonite, which you have, and you also have heavy hands. I think you match up quite well with him. How do you see yourself matching up with him?

Tim Boetsch: I agree. The main thing I bring to the table is that I’m not going to be afraid of Anderson. I think Chael did a great job, I don’t think he was afraid and took the fight to him, but a lot of these fighters that Anderson has come up against, I think they’ve lost the fight before they even get into the cage with him just because they think he’s just an unstoppable force. And so far he has been, but everybody has got to lose eventually and I think his time is coming and I would certainly like to be the first one to take him out. I think the thing that sets me apart is my power that he’s going to have to deal with. If I’m able to hit him and get him on the ground, I’m the type of fighter that’s going to be able to do a lot of damage and really slow him down and potentially take him out. I think that’s the thing I bring that’s different than anybody else that’s he’s fought.

VigilanteMMA: Lastly, do you have anything you’d like to add or anyone you want to thank before we let you go?

Tim Boetsch: Absolutely. I just want to thank all of my fans for their support. I’m glad that they’re all behind me and I want them to expect big things out of this fight. I want them to expect a great show. All of my training partners and coaches, my friends and family. My wife, who without her I couldn’t do any of this because she’s willing to stay at home with the kids while I’m off at training camp getting ready for fights. So just a big thanks to everybody, friends, family and fans. It’s going to be a big fight and it’s going to be exciting and I plan on taking out Bisping.

VigilanteMMA: And I have no doubt that you’ll be able to do it! Vigilante Nation will be behind you.

Tim Boetsch: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.

For more on Tim, make sure you check out his homepage www.timboetsch.com and follow Tim on Twitter.

  1. Doug says:

    Wow! Excellent interview. Tim, I’m pulling for you to smash Bisping.

  2. vigilantemma says:

    thx for the comment doug. i’ve interviewed a lot of fighters and i can say with all honestly, tim’s a really solid and sincere dude. someone worth cheering for.


  3. […] on this card, we have the Featherweight Title Fight between Aldo and Koch, Rua vs. Thiago Silva, Boetsch vs. Bisping, Kongo vs. Big Nog, and Fitch vs. Simpson. I don’t know about you, but […]

  4. […] hunt, but he’ll first need to get by Tim Boetsch next month, and that’s no gimmie. Check out with Tim told us about his pending fight with The […]

  5. […] Exclusive Interview with Tim Boetsch: “I plan on taking out Bisping” Boetsch was bursting on the scene at MW when he KO’d Yushin Okami in memorable fashion. We […]

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