Crazy for combat: MMAmania interview exclusive with Tim Credeur

When stepping into the cage against Tim Credeur, one thing is certain ... you'll remember you've been in a fight.

No one fights harder for the finish than "Crazy" Tim. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) seven veteran has finished all 12 of his career victories. Hell, the only time he's made it to the judges scorecards was a 2009 "Fight of the Year" candidate against Nate Quarry. 

It was a sloppy brawl with both men traded knockdowns for the full 15-minute affair.

However, that fight represented his last in the eight-sided playground, as the Louisiana native suffered through a torrent of injuries that kept him out of action, the least of which being an abnormality in his brain. 

Now, finally, after a full 20 months away, Credeur is geared up to make his Octagon return at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale against season three finalist Ed Herman.

He spoke about making his Octagon return, his fighting style and how the new insurance policy affects him (and all fighters) in this exclusive interview with MMAmania.com.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It's been a tremendously long time since you fought in that fight of the year candidate with Nate Quarry. What's it feel like to finally be back in action?

Tim Credeur: I never fought for the money or the fame, none of that. I got in this sport for the love of it. It was a passion of mine, something I loved doing and something I loved being a part of. Being away for so long was really tough. I was worried that I wouldn't even be back. It's a new lease on life. I'm so excited for the opportunity again that the UFC waited on me after everything came back ok with my health. I'm gonna make the most of it. I'm just super excited to be back and competing again. Do what I love to do, you know?

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're going in against Ed Herman, a guy that's been away from the sport almost as long as you have. Is that kind of reassuring knowing that ring rust hopefully won't be a factor since you're both experiencing it?

Tim Credeur: I don't know nothing about ring rust. I've been fighting for a long time. My first fight in the UFC, everyone told me there was gonna be all these "first fight jitters" and all that stuff. I've never had that. You've never seen a Tim Credeur fight where I went out there hesitant and nervous and kinda didn't fight. I don't have that problem. I may not be the most athletic guy or the most technical guy or nothin' but when you watch Tim Credeur fight, you know after the fight's over that I left it all in there. I didn't leave anything to chance. Win or lose, I'm going at them guns a blazing until the wheels fall off. This fight ain't gonna be no different. Ring rust or whatever the case may be, I don't know what that is. I don't even think about that. I don't even allow that into my brain. I've been hard-sparring with tough kids like Dustin Poirier and a bunch of other tough guys from our academy the whole time I've been out not fighting. I'm fighting for my life in the gym. I'm fighting to stay on my feet with the monsters now a days. I don't really see that as a part of anything. I don't do camps. I'm not a "camp" fighter. After my fights are over, I just get right back in the gym on Monday. I don't have a choice. This is my business. Martial arts is my life. I've been in the gym ever since the Nate Quarry fight was over and I don't even think about ring rust or nothing. I think about the white trash street fight that's gonna happen on Saturday and I can't wait.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned that jitters weren't a problem and you certainly proved that was the case. You went in there and won your first three UFC fights all by stoppage. You took care of business.

Tim Credeur: I'm a martial artist. I fight to finish. I fight to win. I don't really fight strategically to eek out a decision. I never won a decision in my whole life. I don't even know how to do that. I don't even care how to do that. I don't even wanna know. I'm not even concerned with it. That may cost me my career in the UFC. That may cost me my job eventually. That may be the case but I would rather go out on my shield, knocked out, submitted while fighting to finish than eek out decisions. I sure don't want to watch them kinda fights and I sure don't wanna fight like that. That's how I'm gonna fight all the way for the rest of my life, no matter what anybody says or what happens in the sport. That's how all my guys are always gonna fight and I think that's what the fans appreciate. That's what fans wanna watch. That's what martial arts is. Fighting to finish opponents no matter what happens in the fight. No matter if you get beat up the whole fight, I wanna see my guys still trying to knock the other guy out 10 seconds 'til the fight's over down 27-30 on the cards. I don't care. That's our fighting style and that's something that people appreciate. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): In your last fight with Nate Quarry, you kept pressing forward throwing bombs and you never gave up. Is that something you plan on doing with Ed Herman? Keep the fight standing or do you want to go to the ground and work your vaunted jiu-jitsu?

Tim Credeur: It ain't a secret what Ed Herman's going to try to do. Ed Herman is Ed Herman. He ain't changed. A zebra don't change its stripes, man. Ed Herman's Ed Herman. He's gonna come out of there, throw a couple wild punches and try a body lock and get me to the ground and elbow me in my face and my throat and my eyeballs for three five minute rounds. That's what Ed Herman does. That's what he's going to do. Ed Herman is great at that and Ed Herman has stopped some people and hurt some people and split some foreheads open with that strategy. That's exactly, of course, what he's going to try to do. I'm a veteran, I watch tapes and that's Ed Herman's gameplan.

Everyone knows my gameplan too. I'm not trying to take nobody down and lay on them and elbow 'em. I'm trying to knock your teeth down your throat and if we get to the ground, I'm trying to break somethin'. That's it. That's how it goes. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. When you fight me, you know you're gonna either have to kill me or I'm gonna kill you, that's it. That's how it's gonna happen in this fight just the same. I love Ed Herman, respect him. He's a gangster. Fighting so hard and fighting for so long. He's so tough, always shows up ready to fight. That's the kinda guys I want to fight. That's the kinda guys you have to be ready to fight at this level. I can't wait to get in there and have a battle with him. What's Tim's gameplan? *ding ding ding* Throwing hammers until the bell rings in the third round. And when we hit the ground, I'm gonna be throwing the most dangerous submissions I can imagine in my crazy brain until somethin' snaps. That's it. That's the gameplan and I don't mind anybody knowing it. That's what I'm gonna do and do your best to stop it.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): On June 1, the UFC insurance policy starts kicking in. Is that gonna be in the back of your mind, knowing that you've had to go through all these tests in the last year and all these expensive procedures. How big of a deal is that for you?

Tim Credeur: It's not a big deal, it's life changing. I've seen some people in the media saying stuff like, "oh man, fighters are gonna pull out of fights now because now they've got insurance." That's just ignorance talking. Fighters aren't gonna pull out of fights now. You wanna know what fighters are gonna do? When they have a partial tear in their ACL, they're not gonna go fight anyway. Guys nowadays, before this insurance policy, you've got a partial tear in your ACL, you've got to go fight anyways. Why? How are you gonna put food on the table? Whatcha gonna do? Go bar back somewhere or try to be a bouncer and make $50 a night? No. And how are you gonna get your knee fixed? You're not. You can't afford $20,000 and I don't know if you checked the records but a lot of insurance companies aren't exactly jumping on board to give fighters insurance and it's not like we can hide no more.

I can't walk into an insurance company where I live and be like, "I'd like to get some medical insurance" like they don't know who I am. They know exactly who I am and exactly what I do. I can't walk in there with a torn ACL and then pay for it. I'm a cagefighter. They don't insure cagefighting. So guys are gonna have the ability to get their bodies fixed and to get themselves 100% when they go into fights. For me, as an athlete, that's amazing. It changes my life. That changes our lives because the $15,000 my family had to incur for all the tests and stuff I had to go through for the last year and a half would have never been the case.

This kind of insurance policy insures that we'll be able to pick up our grandkids when we're older. We'll be able to go outside and teach our grandkids how to box and how to kickbox and I'm not gonna have to go through 35 years of my life with a partially torn ACL. That's what many fighters before us, our forefathers, that's what they had to do. They had to endure horrible injuries and still get in there and fight for $2000 just in the hopes that the UFC insurance policy would cover them to go get surgery. Now, you've got guys in the NFL, they're out with turf toe, bro. Turf toe? Are you kidding me? You've got guys in the UFC fighting with torn ACLs, torn rotator cuffs, herniated disks and they're not going to go play a couple downs. They're cagefighting for 15 minutes with a professional fighting athlete. That's unbelievable. I think we are some of the hardest working athletes in the business and we should be treated like athletes, like professional athletes and we should be taken care of because our body is our business. I attribute the insurance policy to guys like Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta being active athletes. They're not necessarily paid cagefighters but those guys box, they do Muay Thai, they do jiu-jitsu. They know it happens. There's nothing you can do about it, it's human combat. Bad things happen especially when you're training with human animals. They did something for us that other people maybe outside the sport maybe can't understand. Believe me, every UFC fighter understands and every single one of our wives are dropping to their knees and thanking God that Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White thought so much of their athletes that they took care of us. I think it's amazing. It's unbelievable. It's one of the things that will take the UFC to being one sport as big as the NFLs, the NBAs. These are the kind of things that have to happen. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Jonathan Brookins dropped off the card and that bumped you and Ed up to the main card and you guys got to be televised. Was that a big deal that your first fight back get to be seen on national television guaranteed?

Tim Credeur: Absolutely. Before it was a "maybe," it was one of those swing bouts, it might be, it might not be but with Brookins getting hurt, I saw him at the Fighter Summit and he had stitches. It was just hard training and as I walked away, I kinda put two and two together and thought "wait a minute. I'm probably gonna be bumped. My fight's really important on that main card. That's how things happen. Good things happen to good people. You just keep working hard every day and keep dedicating yourself to what you love and it's amazing how things work out. I plan on not disappointing. I know Clay Guida and Pettis are on the card they they're gonna put on an amazing fight, but it's gonna be tough to get Fight of the Night from me and Ed Herman. Me and Ed Herman are comin' for business time. I personally think it's gonna be one of the best fights of the year and I'm ready for it. I'm ready to fight 25 minutes if need be. I can't wait. I've got a date and I'm so excited. 

We should all be excited too.

Tim would like to thank Hayabusa fightwear, Tapout and Jules Bruchez, his strength and conditioning coach who is sponsoring him for his Octagon return.

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