Mike Pyle is 37 years old, but he may just now be hitting his peak.
Ahead of his Dec. 15 matchup against James Head at “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 finale, Pyle joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his career, how he prepares for fights and more.
On training wiser now that he’s older: “Man, I’ve been doing it a long time, and I’ll be honest with you: I was doing it wrong for a lot of years, but my youth pushed me through it. As you get older, your body’s going to tell you, ‘Hey, you need to figure out another way to do this or you’re going to, I don’t know, be a manager or something pretty quickly.’”
On whether he wakes some mornings knowing that he needs to take a day off: “Oh yeah. I will [take it]. I’ll do that. I’ll get in my truck and I’ll go fish. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll stand out in a little river and just fish, catch some trout, relax, think about nothing but just relaxing and catching fish. And then come back on that following Monday and get right back after it and you feel like a new person.”
On whether he’s thought about life after MMA: “I have to. I don’t have a choice. I have to. There’s different avenues that I’m dabbling in. There’s small investments I’m already making from some of the bigger wins that I’ve had. I’ve taken that money and done smart things with it, just being smart with the money that’s coming to me now, just setting up a good life for myself and my wife and potential family. I’m like fine wine, though, man. Thirty-seven, don’t get me wrong: If you look at me, I look 27. I take care of myself. I always have. I’m no closer to retiring than I was five years ago.”
On how much homework he does on opponents: “I can’t sit and critique a fighter’s last fights and this and that and the other because, to be honest with you, what I do is I’ll watch my last fight and I’ll see what I need to do better and I’ll look at how I fight. I also think, ‘How would I beat me?’ ‘Oh, he’s dropping his left every time he kicks.’ Probably for everyone else, they know their weaknesses and they work on it, so I don’t really pay attention a lot to all their detail. ‘He steps left whenever you step right at him.’ That’s ridiculous. I need to train. ... And yeah, you can basically, with a good coaching staff and with my experience and everything, you can look at a guy and say, ‘OK, this guy’s got a crazy right hand.’ ‘OK, this guy can wrestle.’ It’s not rocket science.”
On what he saw after watching his most recent performance: “I felt like I just needed to hit somebody more. I just need to let it go because I know that if I do, I’ll either slow them down or I’ll knock them out. I know that I have the grappling ability to compete with the best in the UFC and I have the striking ability also to compete with the best in the UFC. I know that and I just need to let that go and shine. I’ve been in this game far too long to hold back anything at this point.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 3:12:15).