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Tim Sylvia becomes a police officer and has a therapy session on Sherdog radio; Update: Fight versus Pedro Rizzo on 8/14
By Zach Arnold | May 25, 2010
I was expecting kind of a boilerplate interview with the former UFC Heavyweight champion on Sherdog radio, but instead it turned out be a pretty fascinating discussion on several topics.
As you read the interview transcript, take note that he has become a police officer and is willing to listen to anyone who wants to give him advice on how he can reveal his true character to more people.
He has some funny thoughts about his fight last Friday night with Mariusz Pudzianowski.
You said “I’m back” a few times. What did you mean by that?
“Well it just means that I’m back to you know fight very regularly, you know I want to fight sometime in July, August, and get back in there, get another good fight under my belt and start looking for the big shows again.”
Where do you want to fight next?
“I’m not really sure for this next fight, but I’d like to think 2011 I’d like to be with Strikeforce or UFC.”
How do you feel you stack up against the big names in the heavyweight class now?
“I think I match up good with everybody.”
Where are you training considering that a lot of guys have split from MFS in Iowa?
“This last fight I trained in Indiana with Team Wolfpack and obviously I’m going to start doing that on a regular basis now again. Iowa’s good for me to get in shape and still you know I can train with Drew and Sherman and a few other guys, but when it comes to high quality heavyweights I need to work with Indiana’s got it for me right now. It’s only four hours from my home. Josh Barnes, Sean McCorkel, they say Matt Mitrione will come down and work out with me and I can go up there and work out with him and Jake O’Brien, those guys. There’s some other heavyweights that I wrestled with a lot, one guy was from Michigan, Gary Myers came down and worked out with me a little bit, so you know I have four or five different heavyweights that I can actually work out with which works out real good for me.”
Surprised by the leg kicks Mariusz used against you in his fight?
“No, I mean, it wasn’t a good leg kick, it was just hard and powerful. I mean he didn’t kick me where he was supposed to kick me. If you kick any way like the three I put on him you want to kick on the quad, that way you know it takes your leg away. He kicked me in the calf and the next one just below the knee and the third one I was able to check but the game plan we called for we wanted him to kick so I could throw straight right like I did to Ricco Rodriguez and then you know the third one I checked and gave him a straight right and he didn’t kick any more and we actually found out when I checked it broke his shin, so yeah he didn’t throw any more after that.”
Did you expect him to try to take you down to the ground?
“Oh yeah, yeah we knew that he was going to do it. We knew he wasn’t going to be able to stand with us, he didn’t have a reach and him being so muscle-bound he couldn’t throw straight punches to begin with, so we knew he was going to kick and then try to get me down to the ground.”
You showed up at 305 pounds for this fight…
“I wanted to be heavy for the fight. I wanted to be you know as big he was. We expected him, we’ve took the fight he was 336 pounds and then he was 300 you know during the press conferences we were doing and you know he lost another you know 23 pounds between the press conferences and when it came to the actual fight day. But I actually hit 285 during training and then I just went back to eating five times a day, so… you know at the peak of my training I was 285 which is pretty much where I am where I fight for the UFC. I mean actually 275 and then I cut 10 pounds and make the weight when I fight at (2)65, so…”
So the plan was just to let him gas himself out…
“Just be careful, be careful the first two minutes, let him know that I was there, I was going to be aggressive, in his face, back him up, get stay ahead, go for the clinch a lot so you know work his body and throw big knees and stuff like that. The game plan went accordingly to plan besides the fact when he was able to shuck me to the ground but I got back up.”
He is such a muscular guy…
“I really wasn’t concerned at all. I just knew that I could back to my feet or I really wasn’t concerned if he put me on my back, I felt pretty sure I could submit him if I needed to or sweep him at least.”
You talked about yourself being a legend in MMA, but a lot of people don’t see you that in that light. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder a lot…
“Yeah, I do, I mean, there’s only been one other heavyweight that’s had the belt for five times and that’s Randy, so him and I are both tied with that for the Heavyweight belt. You know, it is what it is, if that’s the way people want to look at me, so be it. But I know what I’ve done and I know no one else has been a five-time UFC Heavyweight champion besides Randy… I just want to you know fight again as soon as possible, I did break my big toe, my toe next to it on my right foot when I was kicking him when he was on the ground so I’m hoping I can start doing something in a week or two and I get back in there and get in shape and fight again. I think the next fight is going to be at 265 so that’s what we’re shooting for and trying to get a fight at that class, that way it forces me to get down there and stay down there.”
Fans really either love you or hate you. Do you care about changing your image?
“Nope. It is what it is. I’m who I am. I’ve made statements and stuff you know if you hate me, I hate you, I don’t care, I don’t care if you don’t like me to be honest with you. That’s just the way it is. I’m not going to change for anybody, I’m not going to you know try to kiss people’s butt and so on and so forth, that’s just not me you know. I’m from the East Coast and that’s just the way we’re all brought up.
“You know when you’re my friend you know that and we are close and we do things together with the guys that I you know I’m on the police force now, all those guys we all great along with great. Everybody I’m hunting with in the hunting industry. The guys that I mud race with you know. The guys I did movies with. When I met somebody and they’re around me long enough to where we hang out and spend a couple of days together, I pretty much end up being lifelong friends with them so you know when you get to know me and I get to you know and we become friends it’s friends for life.”
Yeah, but it’s hard to pick that up from TV.
“Absolutely, I understand that.”
Maybe a fresh start image-wise?
“You know, so what you’re asking me is if I’m prepared to fake? Is that what you’re asking?”
“What do I do? What am I going to do differently to let people in? What do I … “What should I do to let more people in?”
You come across as angry.
“Well, you know, I think what a lot of people think is they meet me the week before the fight, I’m in fight mode, it’s all about my opponent. Anyone who’s close to me knows that and I think a lot of fighters, they change the week before the fight. I know I do, I’m drastically different. I have no patience, you know I work my butt off for 10 weeks to prepare myself for my opponent and it’s honestly going through my mind, when I go to bed, when I get up, it’s all about who I’m fighting and what I got to do to win this fight and that’s when a lot of the fans they’ll come into the show and they’ll see that I’m a standoffish guy who’s set on you know beating the guy in front of me, so maybe that’s it.”
You want to fight in Strikeforce. What about fighting Alistair Overeem? He should be your target.
“I thought he looked great.
“Well I mean I don’t expect me to get into Strikeforce and fight Fedor, Alistair right away again. I think a Brett Rogers fight would be good, a Werdum fight would be good, whatever happens to the outcome with him and Fedor and what other heavyweights they have lying around, get me in there and let me fight one of those guys. Obviously if I have an impressive victory than obviously give me a chance to fight Fedor, Alistair if the cards see to it.”
Anyone called your manager with new fight offers?
“Yeah, we had actually a couple of phone calls since this fight. We actually had a couple pf phone calls right before I fought, you know, the week before I fought, saying you know if Tim wins we got this for him and that for him so we do have a couple of things getting ready to happen.”
What was the overall reaction to the Moosin production — happy?
“Yeah, very very happy. I mean, you know, if he won that would have been great for Moosin but me winning was great, too, you know because they all liked me and it was a good show, a good fight, good hype up for the fight and you know they’ll looking to bring him back because he’s got a huge, huge following. I believe they say if it was confirmed that fight was the most watched fight in MMA history just mainly because I think it was 6 million homes in Poland. I mean it would be like you know it’s like Pacquiao, the following Pacquiao has in his home country, that’s the way he is in Poland. He’s just a god. They just love him. They adore him and they bow to him, he’s just a legend over in Poland.”
Impressed by Mariusz’s strength?
“Not at all. Not at all. I’ve faced guys in the gym that were stronger than him. You know I’m not saying any of the guys that I’ve ever faced can out-bench-press him or pull a car faster than he can or you know throw keg barrels like he can because none of us can but that’s not what we train for, we train you know to go against other human beings that are punching you, kicking you, kneeing you, or trying to out position you with your hips and so on and so forth. I knew the strength was not going to come into play just because I knew it was MMA and it’s totally different when someone’s trying to grab you and you punch them in the face and knee them in the body and stuff.”
He turned a scary reddish purple in the fight.
“I saw like all the veins in his neck and in his forehead really popping right after I got back up from that takedown and he gave it one good ditch effort to get me down one more time and once I knew that was failed I knew the fight was mine.”
So now you’re a police officer.
“It’s something that I always wanted to do. I applied for the position… and they accepted my application, so I went through the physical part, passed that with flying colors, and then had you know some written tests we had to pass. I passed that. I went through the 40 hours which was you know the handguns and more written tests… I did it about six weeks ago.
“I shot everybody that was, they hired four of us, I out shot all the other three guys and I’m actually out shooting the instructors, too, so I think I’m pretty good with the gun part anyway. I was actually really happy with all the written stuff test, too, I never scored anything below a 92.
“Yes, it’s a part-time thing. My requirements are an eight-hour shift a month.”
“Yeah, if I want to (do more than 8 hours a month), yeah, but if I have a fight coming up, I will work eight hours and then I can dedicate the next four weeks, not having to worry about you know I have to my face shaved and so on and so forth so I will shave my face, go to work, and then grow it out for my look I have for fighting and focus on that. But it also sets me up for when I’m done fighting, you know when I’m done fighting I can apply for a full-time position in their department and make you know $60k a year and full [benefits] and take care of all my knees and elbow problems and hand problems I’m going to have after fighting.
(He’s a policeman in Illinois.)
“My jurisdiction is the side of the airport, too, so when you rent your cars make sure you don’t come flying out of the airport fast.”