Tim Sylvia: On Mir, Old Farts, and the Kilt

Jun 15, 2004
Tim Sylvia (Photo Gallery) is full of surprises. You wouldn't think that a 6-foot-8, 260-pound former UFC heavyweight champion would be a nice, humble guy. You would be wrong in that assumption. Even with his 15-0 undefeated record (with 12 TKO/KO's), The "Maine-iac" remains level-headed, stating "I don't want to look past anybody." He even considers himself an underdog going into most fights.

Maybe it's his team, the well known and renowned Miletich Fighting System, that keeps him this way. "I'm surrounded by better fighters," he says. "I get beat up in the gym all the time. I even got beat up a few times this week."

You wouldn't expect a guy that has knocked out 80 percent of his opponents to get beat up in the gym. When your sparring partners consist of UFC Veterans Matt Hughes, Robbie Lawler, Jeremy Horn, Jens Pulver, and of course Pat Miletich, I guess you're bound to get tossed around a little.

It's these teammates that give Sylvia an edge over his competition. Most of the guys Sylvia fights are "the best guys at their gym." His opponents don't have the training partners to push them as hard as Tim gets pushed everyday. Also, Sylvia has the experience to back up his training. He has knocked out many big names in the UFC Heavyweight Division: "Cabbage" Correira, former UFC champ Ricco Rodriguez, and most recently "The Giant" Gan McGee.

This experience, says Sylvia, is what separates him from his next opponent, Frank Mir. "[Mir] hasn't been tested. The only time was against Ian Freeman, and he got beat pretty bad."

Frank Mir (Photo Gallery) is being groomed as the next big thing in the UFC, their next poster boy. He has excellent submission skills, but many question his stand-up and gas tank. One thing in this fight is sure though: there will be plenty of action. "I'll either knock him out or get caught and submitted. It'll be an exciting fight either way," promises Sylvia.

So how does the "Maine-iac" prepare for such a versatile grappler? Ask him yourself; he's likely to confidently tell you, "I don't train any differently for any fight."

He has a phalanx of people to help prepare him for Mir, a veritable who's who of big MMA names. "My roommate, Tony Fryklund, has been very supportive. Right now, Sam Hoger, Mike Whitehead, and Ben Rothwell have helped get me ready."

Clearly, Sylvia seems poised to reacquire the heavyweight belt that he worked so hard to obtain.

What does it feel like to be on the same card as UFC legend Ken Shamrock? "It's a joke! I'm disgusted that two old farts are headliners over [Mir and I,] -- the next generation of fighters. Those two (Shamrock and Kimo Leopoldo) are getting out of their wheel chairs to fight each other."

Sylvia even went as far as to say, "If I ever get the chance, I'd love to tear either of them a new asshole." That's something Sylvia fans would love to see, one can be sure of that.

As for the other fights on the UFC 48 card, Tim feels that "the old Matt Hughes is back, and ready to ground-and-pound the shit out of somebody." Also, "I'm a big Team Quest guy, but [Evan] Tanner done for, because Phil [Baroni] is so pissed right now." He also hopes that Frank Trigg will win his fight, as "[Dennis] Hallman has been talking a lot of shit recently."

When questioned about the Shamrock fight, Sylvia said that he feels Shamrock will win, but he says it doesn't really matter.

One thing you don't have to speculate about is whether Tim Sylvia will be wearing his trademark kilt when he makes his walk to the octagon on Saturday, June 19. What's the deal with the kilt, anyway? "I've got a little Irish in me," he says, "but it's mostly for my sponsor, www.Sportkilt.com. There's nothing more comfortable than a kilt when you're getting ready to beat somebody's ass."

Win or lose, knockout or submission, Tim Sylvia is a character. Not a truly gentle giant, as he knocks people out for a living, the "Maine-iac" does, in fact, have a nice side. This becomes apparent by his friendly demeanor and his numerous wisecracks. Tim Sylvia is full of surprises, and come Saturday, his audience will see if he can surprise Mir with that big right cross.
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