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Mike Pyle has a goal for 2014, and he’s certain he’ll achieve it. By the end of the year, he guarantees he will be one of the top-10 welterweights in the UFC.
A win over T.J. Waldburger when they meet Feb. 22 at UFC 170 would certainly help. Ahead of the matchup, Pyle joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his standing in the 170-pound division, his opponent and more.
On his loss to Matt Brown last August: “The way it happened, it was so quick. I trained hard. I didn’t get to fight. I really didn’t get to test my skills against Matt, so yeah, that was a rough one for me. It was a bit of a rough camp. I’d had a newborn at the time. It was just a few weeks old, starting the camp. I was trying to get adjusted to being a father, a new father, so it was just a little bit different for me and then the loss was a little more salt on the wound. Not to take anything away from Matt. He came in to do his job and he did it and he did it well.”
On whether he’d take the fight again if he had it to do over: “No regrets at all. At the end of the day, I’m a fighter and that’s what I do and that’s what I’ve been doing for a numerous amount of years now. Would I do it again? No. Under those circumstances, I wouldn’t. … It was a little bit too much to juggle, having a new baby in the house. My mind wasn’t all the way there. No, I would not do it again. I’m 100-percent sure I would not do it again.”
On Waldburger: “He’s very savvy on the ground, no doubt about that, but at the same time, so am I. I’ve been in the game a long time. I’ve been in jiu-jitsu for many, many years now, since ’95. I don’t have any fear of mixing it up on the ground with him at all. I do have a tremendous amount of respect for his skills there and I will treat it as so in the fight.”
On his striking versus Waldburger’s: “If the knockout comes, it’ll come. I’m not going to force anything. I’m going to fight with T.J. no matter where it’s at. He wants to get it to the ground. In order for that to happen, he’s going to have to outwrestle me and he’s going to have to get me to the ground. I think that will be a big challenge for him. Over the years I’ve trained with a lot of great wrestlers and I’ve learned a lot of great things. If I don’t want T.J. to take me down, I will make sure that he doesn’t. If it stays on the feet, I believe I’ll have the advantage there and we’ll just see how that unfolds on the 22nd.”
On where he stands in the UFC welterweight division: “The UFC has me ranked at 15. By this year, I will break into the top 10 and I will be a contender once again. I will -- guaranteed, 110 percent -- be in the top 10 this year.” Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:02:00).