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Tall task: Interview with UFC 149 middleweight contender Tim Boetsch

SAITAMA, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 26: Tim Boetsch reacts after knocking out Yushin Okami during the UFC 144 event at Saitama Super Arena on February 26, 2012 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Al Bello via Getty Images)
SAITAMA, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 26: Tim Boetsch reacts after knocking out Yushin Okami during the UFC 144 event at Saitama Super Arena on February 26, 2012 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Al Bello via Getty Images)

UFC middleweight Tim Boetsch can never be counted out of a fight.

In his battle against recent title challenger Yushin Okami earlier this past February on Okami's home turf, Boetsch was battered and beaten for two straight rounds by the aggressive Japanese fighter.

But "The Barbarian" summoned all his strength and exploded with an incredible outburst of violence, blasting "Thunder" to smithereens and knocking him out with a series of vicious uppercuts against the fence in what is widely considered to be 2012's best comeback victory thus far.

Boetsch's reward for his resiliency? Originally it was a bout against top contender Michael Bisping but when Bisping was injured, he'll now welcome Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard to the UFC in the co-main event of UFC 149 this Saturday night (July 21, 2012) in a fight with major 185 pound title implications.

The AMC Pankration fighter was recently a guest on Bloody Elbow Radio where he talked everything from his crazy comeback to what he expects against Lombard this Saturday night.

Check it out:

Matt Bishop: Why do you think this will be a more exciting fight than you versus Michael Bisping?

Tim Boetsch: Just the sheer fact that I don't have to run down Hector. Michael Bisping is a lot of footwork and convincing that he's in a fight and wants to trade with you but Hector, he runs across the cage and looks to try to kill you from the first bell. (laughs) It's gonna be an exciting fight.

Matt Bishop: Exciting but also I don't think you're gonna get an argument from anybody that a fight against Hector Lombard is a whole hell of a lot more dangerous than a fight with Michael Bisping. So how do you kind of wrap your head around that one?

I definitely agree with that. Hector's definitely got that one punch stopping power that you have to worry about and you don't have to worry about with Michael but there's other things like you don't have to worry about the footwork like you do with Michael and hopefully I'll be able to move around him and land my shots. For the first time in my career I'm going to have a reach advantage on somebody so hopefully that will be interesting. It's gonna be a heck of a fight.

Brian Hemminger ( Hector's on a 25 fight winning streak, but if you look at that, it's against some dubious competition at some points. Do you think that overall, you might have faced better competition than he has despite him having so many more fights than you?

Tim Boetsch: Oh absolutely. I'm fighting the toughest guys in the world right now and Hector's coming over to experience that first hand on the 21st. We'll see how he adapts to the different levels of competition. Certainly he's a tough guy and you can't take that away from him. Anbody that can string that many wins together is obviously doing something right. He's very aggressive, very violent and he's one of those guys that truly loves to fight. He doesn't just do this to put food on the table. He fights because he enjoys fighting, he enjoys hurting people and I certainly expect him to come in there and try to take my head off. It's gonna be a good fight and somebody's getting knocked out.

Matt Bishop: Everybody has to make their UFC debut at some point and you came in and had one of the best UFC debuts ever. What do you think is going through his mind right now?

Tim Boetsch: Honestly, I don't think that's gonna be a factor for him. He's been in enough competitions in his life, his judo career, his grappling background and just the sheer number of MMA fights he's been in, world title fights in Bellator. I don't think the butterflies of the big stage are going to have any effect on him. He's a true fighter, a warrior and he's in it for a lot of different reasons than a lot of guys out there. He's just in it for the combat side. I expect a game Hector Lombard on the 21st.

Matt Bishop: Was the Okami fight a situation where you broke early and came back strong or did you keep your composure and turn it on at the end?

Tim Boetsch: Well the reason I was able to win that fight was because I never broke. If you break mentally in a fight, it's over. The fight's done. You lose. It's kind of strange because I knew I was losing. I knew I was behind on the scorecards the whole second round where I was mounted and he was raining shots down on me.

I knew it looked terrible in the judges eyes and it didn't look good for me but in my mind, I knew I was still in the fight. My gas tank was full. I knew that if I had the opportunity to close that gap, use my footwork like we'd trained, I'd have the opportunity to finish him and for whatever reason, it just clicked in my mind in that third round. It was the fact that I never lost sight of the end goal that I was able to pull that one out.

Brian Hemminger ( You have a unique style of judo that you whip out on occasion with some big throws. Are you concerned that it won't work against someone with a solid judo background like Hector Lombard?

Tim Boetsch: Well I have a wrestling background and all those throws you see in there, that's wrestling. Whether it's the whizzer throw like I hit on Nick Ring or just that underhook throw that I hit on David Heath, all that stuff is from my wrestling background. In my opinion, wrestling beats every other sport out there whether it's judo, jiu-jitsu or whatever. I'm really not that concerned with Hector's Olympic judo background. I actually welcome it. I hope he comes out and thinks he can throw me because he'll wind up landing on his head.

Brian Hemminger ( How would you compare Lombard's power in his stand-up to everyone else you've fought in your career. You've fought at light heavyweight against some tough guys but he's got a reputation as one of the heaviest hitters out there.

Tim Boetsch: Yeah, that's certainly a concern of mine to find out how powerful he really is, but there's a lot of rumors and sometimes people talk up their opponents too much, moreso than they really are. People talked about how strong Matt Hammil was and how freakishly powerful he was gonna be so that was in the back of my mind and even though I lost that fight, I never experienced that freakish power. I just didn't feel it.

I understand that Hector's got a lot of knockouts on his record and he's a heavy hitter, but until I experience that power for myself, I can't really speak to it. Oftentimes, people exaggerate just how powerful people are. I could be off on that too, Hector could be the most powerful guy in the sport. Let's just hope he doesn't land that punch on me. (laughs)

Matt Bishop: Where do you think you're gonna have the best edge against Hector Lombard on the 21st?

Tim Boetsch: I think my ability to stop takedowns because oftentimes in fights, when someone puts a little bit of pressure on Hector, he shoots in for a takedown so he can relax for a little bit so he can recover. I'm not gonna give him a chance to recover. Sometimes he just walks forward because he thinks he can intimidating. He's a bully in the ring but I won't be intimidated. I don't get intimidated by anybody regardless of how scary you look or how hard you punch, those thoughts just don't enter my mind.

He's gonna be at a disadvantage in a few areas in this fight and I look forward to showing just how much of a disadvantage he is in those areas.

Brian Hemminger ( After his win last night, Chris Weidman called out Anderson Silva. If you win against Hector Lombard, do you think you should get the next shot against Anderson Silva?

Tim Boetsch: I think I should. When Hector came over, there were rumors that Dana White promised him that if he beat Brian Stann he'd get a shot at the title. I hope that that would hold true for me. If I finish Hector Lombard, I hope I would get the shot but I'll take the position that as long as I keep beating people, I won't be denied. I just have to keep winning, keep knocking people out, there's not that many more people in front of me between Hector and Anderson. I do think I would be the number one contender after beating Hector Lombard.

Matt Bishop: What will be the two biggest things you'll have to do to beat Hector Lombard?

Tim Boetsch: I will need to impose my will and I'll need to control the ring. If I do those two things, I'll come out with the victory.

So what do you think, Maniacs?

Can Boetsch actually toss Lombard on his head if "Lightning" gets too close? If someone is guaranteed to get knocked out in this fight like Boetsch says, who will it be?"

Sound off!

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