After losing back-to-back fights and then winning a debatable split decision over C.B. Dollaway in October, Tim Boetsch is still trying to recapture his momentum in the UFC middleweight division.
A win Saturday over Luke Rockhold at UFC 172 would certainly put him back in the thick of things. Ahead of the bout, Boetsch joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his opponent, how they match up and more.
On whether he feels disrespected as a heavy underdog: “No. These things have happened to me in the past. Obviously this is the biggest margin I’ve ever had, but I tend to do pretty well under these circumstances, and being a huge underdog in the past, I’ve been able to make people that bet on fighting quite a bit of money. I think they’re going to have that same opportunity this time around.”
On his stock falling some: “It’s an unfortunate thing in this sport that you’re literally only as good as your last fight. Last year was not nearly as dominant a year as I had hoped for. My fights didn’t go as well as I had hoped, and people forget about you quickly.”
On bouncing back against Rockhold: “This fight certainly is going to give me an opportunity to prove again where I belong and where I’m going in the sport, and I feel very confident coming into this fight. The oddsmakers can put whatever numbers they want up on the board; it doesn’t affect how I’m going to perform at all.”
On Rockhold: “Honestly, I think he’s a great fighter. He’s one of the best athletes in the weight class. He’s got some great technical ability obviously and he’s got a huge reach advantage over most guys in the weight class. He’s a dangerous guy for anybody to fight, but that being said, as far as where he’s at in the UFC, he’s only got one win in the UFC and it was over [Costas] Philippou. I think he’s definitely a legit fighter, but I’m not sure why he’s being backed so hard already by everybody when he hasn’t really had that experience in the UFC. I think this fight’s going to be a great test for him. I definitely respect the guy and expect it to be a great fight, but I think people might have their expectations set a little bit too high too early.”
On whether Rockhold is the perfect opponent to reestablish himself against: “Yeah, definitely. His name has actually been on the board for quite a while. He raised some flags and wanted to fight right after I had beat Hector Lombard. He’s definitely gained some traction with a win over Philippou and people have high expectations for him, so it’s definitely a fight I want to be in. Anytime you can fight a guy that’s ranked above you, you definitely want to do that because I think for me especially, I want to be the No. 1 guy in the weight class. I’ve got to take out the guys that are in front of me.”
On whether he can bully Rockhold: “Absolutely. I feel like I can bully anybody in the middleweight division, and that’s part of the game plan. But I think Luke’s going to come into this one with a little bit different game plan than what everybody’s expecting. I really think he’s working hard on his wrestling and I think he understands that I have the ability to stop this fight with my punching power. I really expect him to try to put me on my back and keep me there.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:34:35).