Mike Pierce is not the type of fighter that's consistently in the headlines. It's just not in his nature.
While he's built a reputation as a fighter who is more than likely going to the judges' scorecards, he more than broke his habit in his last fight, knocking Aaron Simpson senseless in a wildly entertaining performance.
Pierce spoke with MMAmania.com about his upcoming bout, the fallout of his dramatic knockout and his new more aggressive mentality he plans on bringing to the Octagon this weekend.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How did it feel getting such a thunderous knockout in your last fight against Aaron Simpson especially after originally being buried in the first fight on the undercard when the event was announced?
Mike Pierce: It felt incredible. Joe Silva knows that I can knock people out, that I can swing. After the fight he was like, "That's what you've got to do! You know you can do that. You've got to go in there and freakin' swing, man!" It put a smile on my face and he was right. In the second round of that fight it kicked in, like "Screw it. I'm not gonna back down. I'm not gonna play it safe. I'm gonna go in there and throw hard," and I figured he was gonna come at me again with that big right hand he's knocked everyone out with and he had some success with it there towards the end of the first round and why not try it again? I timed it better the second time around and landed one of my own.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you see this fight as a "win-win" situation because you wanted to stay active and in taking a fight on short notice, you're also making the big wigs at the UFC really happy too?
Mike Pierce: The way I look at it, these opportunities I've had this past year, this is my fifth fight in 13 months, there's no shortage of fighters in the UFC and now they're adding the women in. Getting on cards as often as I've been on them is not really a common thing. That's why I jump at those opportunities when they do come up because that's how we make our money. I love doing this. I love fighting and I'm gonna do it when I can do it and when I'm healthy. Fortunately I've been healthy for a long time and haven't had any injuries inside the Octagon and I'm just happy to do it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's talk about your upcoming opponent Seth Baczynski. Ever since dropping down to welterweight, he's been a completely different fighter, scoring four straight UFC wins and six straight overall. What do you make of his current run?
Mike Pierce: Well, he definitely presents a different dynamic in the welterweight division. Guys at middleweight are more his size. You're not gonna find many welterweights that are 6'3 that can keep the distance and range that he has. He's pretty decent on the ground too. That being said, I've seen who he's fought in his recent run to get those four straight wins and I don't really think he's gonna show me anything I haven't seen already inside the Octagon and inside the training room. I'm definitely prepared for this fight and I expect to win.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've had several great, extremely close and down to the wire fights against the likes of elite UFC welterweights Johny Hendricks, Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch. What do you think it's gonna take to get you over that hump and get that signature win?
Mike Pierce: Well I won the Josh Koscheck fight so I don't know what else I could have done other than knock him out. Those are all top tier guys. They're tough and sometimes it's gonna go the distance with them. I'm just trying to outwork them in every aspect of the game so if it does go to the judges, there's no question who won. I would really like to try to take that away from them and dictate the win myself without scorecards. It's not a perfect world and that's gonna happen against guys at the top of the division.
What I think I need to do different is just be more aggressive, take more risks and then put people to sleep.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned going into that second round against Aaron Simpson with nothing to lose. Is that a shift in fight mentality that we can expect to see going forward or was it more that you needed something drastic to happen after the rough end to the first round?
Mike Pierce: It was all of the above. I was pissed off he caught me with that right hand. Throughout that whole training camp, we watched his fights and we knew it was one of his signature attacks to train for. He caught me sleeping a bit and planted and threw the quick right hand. I was starting to slip it but he was quicker. I did my best to overcome the adversity and I was proud of myself for being able to defend myself intelligently even though I was rocked.
I collected myself in between rounds and went out there in the second round pissed off and did what I did.
That's actually something you have to practice. It's something we've simulated in the training room. There's a fine line there. You don't want to get so emotional and crazy that you get sloppy and make mistakes. At the same time, you want to be intense, aggressive and impose your will and do so in a way that you're really trying to hurt somebody. That's something we're really been working on and it's something I'll try to do in this fight against Seth without making mistakes.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What are your top objectives this weekend that you feel you'll need to accomplish to walk away with a victory against Baczynski?
Mike Pierce: Just be aggressive and don't give him any room to breathe. Keep him backing up and stay in his face. Simple as that.