Pushing forward: A conversation with UFC middleweight Tim Credeur

Tim Credeur — the first man to apparently ever earn his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Louisiana — didn’t need to rely on his solid ground game to score his second UFC win at UFC Fight Night 16: 'Fight for the Troops'.

The veteran blasted away at Nate Loughran for 10 full minutes, forcing the previously unbeaten fighter to call it quits on his stool before the third round could even start.

And in the process, made a lot of fighters in the middleweight division sit up and take notice.

"Crazy" first made a name for himself as a contestant on season seven of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Credeur lost his initial semifinal bid to punch his ticket to the final fight against Amir Sadollah when he was defeated by Jesse Taylor in the final four.

However, Taylor was kicked off the show shortly after it wrapped, creating another opportunity for Credeur to challenge for the six-figure contract.

He locked horns with the other eliminated semifinalist, CB Dollaway in an eliminator match. But things did not go Credeur’s way – he lost via unanimous decision in a very close battle.

He must have done something right, however, because he was among the few of the 16 fighters asked to compete in future events. In fact, only half of the contestants earned the right to make their official Octagon debuts that weekend on the Spike TV special.

What's also amazing is that prior to the show, Creduer was very close to hanging up his 5-ounce gloves forever.

"The show changed my life. There is no doubt about it. I was going to retire in September of '07. I had a fight at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. I was the main event and that was going to be my last fight. I was finishing college in December. I got a job with a huge oil company making great money and I'm married. At that point I had been fighting over 10 years. It just kind of got to the point where I just wasn't seeing any way with my age that I could convert it into something where I could have it as a career. It was kind of getting time where I was going to do this for a career or time to find something else to do. I decided I was going to go ahead and retire after that fight. But I guess a day or two before the fight my wife sat me down and told me it really wasn't time for me to quit now. Even though it was difficult at times, she thought that it was going to come around. I thought she was ridiculous. But yeah, I took a couple of more fights and I rattled off a couple of more first round victories and then the next thing you know The Ultimate Fighter calls and I'm on the show. Now I am fighting regularly for the UFC. Looking back, I was one little Cajun girl's conversation away from quitting the sport. That is how life is sometimes: Sometimes you have got to take a risk and you have to go out on a limb put yourself out there."

Speaking of risks, making an appearance on national television in an emotionally compromising situation can be difficult - especially when you are surrounded with contestants who may not be mature enough to handle the experience.

"When I went on the show, I wasn't trying to be cool. I wasn't having fun, I wasn't there for the girls.
I was there for a career. Some people go to interviews for their career; I went to The Ultimate Fighter. That was really all that I cared about was having a good showing and showing them that I deserved to be there, eventually making my way into the UFC and making my way up from there. To be at that point now is definitely surreal. To be going to Vegas to help train a world champion, you know it just doesn't make any sense. You know, I don't know what's going on. A year ago I was working for an oil company."

Creduer is heading to Sin City to help friend and former TUF coach Forrest Griffin prepare for his upcoming light heavyweight title defense against "Sugar" Rashad Evans at UFC 92 this weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"I'm going to Vegas for about three weeks. It's the last week of Forrest's preparation for Rashad. I went out there about a month ago and trained with him for about a week or so and I'm going back for his last week. Just to help him kind of be comfortable and be ready for his last week. We are friends and we train together so I try to support him, help him. My wife is coming with me. We will probably do Christmas after and start looking to the road ahead. But right now, I just definitely want to help Forrest get that win and defend his title. I guess I'll start thinking about me next. I'm really ready and able to fight anybody the UFC wants me to fight. My job is just showing up and having exciting performances. I don't really care who it is against."

It's hard to imagine a veteran like Creduer not fighting. Despite the recent activity, "Crazy" has been fighting at smaller shows after getting started with Judo while he was in the Navy back in 1995.

"I have about 20 or so more fights. I've been fighting since '95. Back then they didn't really have databases and stuff. There were still MMA fights going on back then, like in Mexico. Kind of some more underground stuff because it wasn't necessarily legal back then. We were just trying to keep the sport alive. The UFC was going on but other than that the shows were very small. I started with the Navy Judo Team. My dad was a boxer. I've been boxing and around boxing well, combat sports all my life. I guess when I started with the Navy was really when I really started Judo training for real, I was about 18 years old."

That training has definitely paid off. It's also allowed Creduer to parlay his success as a UFC fighter into other business endeavors, like the opening of his own gym.

"I'm a black belt under the Carlson Gracie System and now I have my own gym in Louisiana. We have 15 or 20 pro fighters that fight out of the gym. There is about 100 students who train here and I do go back and forth to Vegas to train at Extreme Couture with Forrest and them. I really appreciate everybody being behind me and believing in me. I will continue to pushing forward and hopefully get some big wins in the

To learn more about Tim, check out his MySpace page or his management company Denaro Sports .

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