NEW- Tim Sylvia Interview

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hippysmacker
2/21/07 8:36:40PM
From the canadian press

UFC heavyweight champion Tim (The Maine-iac) Sylvia says bring it on
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | 12:42 PM ET
Canadian Press: NEIL DAVIDSON
(CP) - While the UFC beefs up its heavyweight division with the likes of Randy Couture, Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic and Heath (Texas Crazy Horse) Herring, Tim Sylvia waits and watches.

The reigning heavyweight champion says he welcomes the competition. Come and get me, says the six-foot-eight, 255-pound man-mountain. "I think my next couple of fights are going to be my legacy," Sylvia told The Canadian Press in an interview from his prized UFC special edition Hummer.

Tim Sylvia celebrates after defeating Andrei Arlovski for the Heavyweight Title at the Ultimate Fighting Championship 61. (CPimages '06/AP/Jane Kalinowsky)
First up is the 43-year-old Couture, a Hall of Famer coming out of retirement after a year out of the mixed martial arts game. Couture has owned both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight titles in the past and is considered an icon in the sport.

So does Sylvia want to test himself against the best?

"Well, one of the best," Sylvia corrects the questioner. "I wouldn't say the best. I consider myself THE best."

Sylvia and Couture face off March 3 at UFC 68: The Uprising in Columbus, Ohio. It's widely expected that Filipovic will take on the winner, once he disposes of Gabriel Gonzaga.
Couture could have his hands full against Sylvia, who is 13 years younger - and much bigger.

"If I have to look at it objectively, I don't see how Randy Couture is going to win," says UFC commentator Joe Rogan. "I see a young, hungry, gigantic man who has vicious knockout power and he's fighting a guy who's in his 40s, who has always had a problem with big men. And this is the biggest man he's ever fought. And the most dangerous.

"Tim Sylvia is a very under-rated man. He just doesn't look that dangerous, because he's got a body that looks like the average person's body. He doesn't have this muscular shredded six-pack body. . . . He doesn't look like this dynamic powerhouse alpha male champion. But he is. I think people get confused.

"That guy's a very dangerous fighter. He wants to win and he's willing to put in the work to win. He's constantly improving. He's a scary guy."

And this coming from an unabashed Couture admirer.

But middleweight Dean Lister, who has been helping Couture prepare, sees it differently.

"I think Randy Couture's game plan and his experience are going to pull through," Lister said. "Even though Tim Sylvia's bigger, Randy Couture, I feel, is going to grab him and it's going to be very hard for Sylvia to stay away from him."

If the six-foot-two, 220-pound Couture can keep Sylvia close, he can negate his reach and considerable striking ability and use his own wrestling skills to control the champion and do damage.

The bookies agree with Rogan, however. Gamblerspalace.com had Sylvia at minus-290, meaning you would have to bet $290 to make $100 profit on the champion. Underdog Couture was listed at plus-220 meaning a $100 bet would earn you $220 profit.

Couture lost his heavyweight title to Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 39 in September 2002. Sylvia defeated Rodriguez five months later at UFC 41 to claim the belt.

The two fighters' looks are certainly different.

Couture is a muscle mag cover boy, carved out of granite with a barrel chest and jutting jaw.

Sylvia looks like a villainous turn-of-the-century prize fighter, albeit one with an awkward gait. The big man has all the grace of a baby giraffe. He lost his belt the first time out after testing positive for steroids, a choice he later said was not about cheating but vanity in trying to improve his body type.

Couture is a fan favourite, with a boyish smile.

The champ's personality does not shine through in public. Instead he comes across as a grumpy giant with a chip on his shoulder to match.

His affection for the championship belt is the subject of jokes. He seems to pack it everywhere he goes, although Sylvia pokes fun at himself by recalling the day he left it in an airport.

Even their nicknames are poles apart.

Couture (14-8) has been dubbed both The Natural and Captain America. Sylvia, a native of Maine who now fights out of Bettendorf, Iowa, is nicknamed The Maine-iac.

Come March 3, Sylvia reckons Couture's age, inactivity plus his size and striking ability will make for "complications" for the Hall of Famer.

He plans to use all of that to soften up the challenger, then knock him out.

Still Sylvia appreciates that Couture took the bout.

"He's manned up, there were two guys that declined the fight," said Sylvia, pointing to Gonzaga and Brandon Vera.

Sylvia has won his last six fights, avenging (twice) a loss to Andre Arlovski and most recently battering ace grappler Jeff Monson at UFC 65 in a one-sided bout that drew boos from the Sacramento crowd.

After the November fight, Sylvia attributing the booing to ignorance - hardly a fan-friendly thought in a sport that prides itself on connecting with the paying public.

"Those guys like to get drunk and watch two guys beat the crap out of each other," Sylvia said of the crowd. "So they don't understand a game plan. I had a lot riding on this fight. And by the end of the day, I want to go home as the champ. And that's exactly what I did. I followed the game plan to a T and I won the fight."

Before the fight, Sylvia labelled Monson - a self-described anarchist - a "scumbag" for questioning the U.S. policy on Iraq.

The champion wasn't any more graceful in victory after leaving Monson looking like he had been in a car crash.

"He's in hospital and I'm standing here with not a mark on me," Sylvia said.

Sylvia also took pride in his submission work against Monson, noting he had the five-foot-nine challenger "gurgling" at one point.

"I was very stoked about that," he said later of his ground game. "I've been keeping my ground game a secret a very long time."

But Sylvia's game plan in both the Monson and final Arlovski fight drew criticism from Couture, who accused the champion of playing it safe.

"It's hard, but a lot of times you've just got to go out there and do what's given to you," Sylvia responded, blaming his opponents for refusing to stand in there with him.

Against Arlovski, Sylvia said the former champion was rocked by a combination in the first round.

"He was very distant after that. He did want to close the gap ... he didn't want to fight anymore."

His only other loss was to Frank Mir, at UFC 48 in June 2004. The referee stopped the fight after hearing Sylvia's arm snap in a submission hold. Sylvia had refused to tap out.

The Maine-iac never quits. He was floored by Arlovski in their second fight, but got right back up and promptly knocked out the former champion.

As for the new heavyweight invasion, Sylvia says he has always been a Cro Cop fan, but thinks Eddie Sanchez did not offer much of a challenge to the Croatian sensation in his UFC debut earlier this month.

"It took him five minutes to finish him. I don't know if he was just shaking some ring rust off or what. But I definitely saw some vulnerability," Sylvia said

And Herring?

"That was just disgusting," Sylvia said of Herring's upset loss to Jake O'Brien. "He couldn't defend a takedown to save his life."

While Couture is a stud wrestler, Sylvia is so long that he can be hard to handle. And the champion says he has been working out with "some big strong Illinois and Iowa wrestlers."

"I'm very confident that I'll defend the takedown at all costs and knock him out," he said.

Sylvia, who lists his record as 25-2, already has 17 knockouts.

"I've got knockouts with knees, my legs and my hands," he said.

Couture and Sylvia have history. Couture helped the big man at the beginning of his career, flying him out to Oregon to train.

"He's a legend. . . . He's taught me a lot. He's definitely a mentor," Sylvia said.

Sylvia likes Couture and credits him for helping the sport.

And while the champion wonders about a comeback at 43, he understands why.

"He's getting paid a lot of money to come out of retirement and fight me," Sylvia said. "I plan on retiring at age 35. But a year after I retire, if someone says 'Hey, I've got $5 million if you want to fight the champ,' there's pretty good odds I'm probably going to go out and do it."

Notes: An avid outdoorsman, Sylvia plans a line of hunting DVDs, with a return trip to Northern Ontario in the works. He's heading there in August, loaded for black bear. He may return in the fall looking for moose.
RichBoy
2/21/07 8:52:37PM
Couture and Sylvia have history. Couture helped the big man at the beginning of his career, flying him out to Oregon to train.

"He's a legend. . . . He's taught me a lot. He's definitely a mentor," Sylvia said.


Wow i didnt no they trained together.

As for the new heavyweight invasion, Sylvia says he has always been a Cro Cop fan, but thinks Eddie Sanchez did not offer much of a challenge to the Croatian sensation in his UFC debut earlier this month.

"It took him five minutes to finish him. I don't know if he was just shaking some ring rust off or what. But I definitely saw some vulnerability," Sylvia said

Tims just asking to be knock out by Cro Cop.

And Herring?

"That was just disgusting," Sylvia said of Herring's upset loss to Jake O'Brien. "He couldn't defend a takedown to save his life."


I dont rarely hate onTim but damn this guys anooying. I cant wait til he gets knock out or just looses hopefully Randy will pull the upset. And takes Tims belt.
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