Fighters Only’s Tony Reid catches up with Tim Boetsch just days before ‘The Barbarian’ collides with former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks at UFC Fight Night 112 this Sunday (June 25) in Oklahoma.
Q: How do you see the fight with Johny Hendricks playing out?
Tim Boetsch: Johny Hendricks is one of those guys that doesn’t throw too many surprises at you. He is a former division one wrestler that competed at the highest level. We are going to Oklahoma, right in his back yard. I expect that hard-nose, grinding, wrestling type of style.
I expect him to have some confidence in his move up in weight class. He will be full of energy. I don’t think he will be experiencing any of those weight cutting side effects he had when attempting to make the lower weight in the past. He will be feeling pretty good at middleweight, especially after beating up Hector Lombard in his last fight. He thinks he is in the right spot.
But it is my job to show him that this isn’t the weight division he is used to competing in. He is going to be in there with a full-size middleweight. I am doing my normal 20 pound cut to get down to weight. On fight night I think he is going to experience something he is not quite used to and that is being in there with someone who will grind harder than he can. That’s what I plan on doing.
I think everyone is pretty pumped up about this one. Match-up-wise, it has all the makings of a potential ‘Fight of the Night’. We have that same wrestler mentality and we are both heavy-handed. On paper it looks like a great match-up for the fans and it will be fun for everyone involved, especially me.
Q: He will definitely have the home field advantage. But that scenario is nothing new to you as you have traveled the world to take guys out in their backyards before. I assume it will be no different this time around.
TB: People talk a lot about home field advantage. I was fortunate enough to be able to fight in my home state of Maine, practically in my back yard, as I grew up 45 minutes away from the arena. I was able to pull out the victory there. Going to somebody else’s home town and beating them up is no problem for me. I don’t worry about crowd involvement. I’m not the type of person to be disrespectful in any way, so I don’t think there will be any bad blood felt toward ‘The Barbarian’ in Oklahoma. People will be excited to see a great fight take place. Unfortunately, that will be at the expense of Johny Hendricks.
Q: You signed a new multi-fight deal after the Jacare Souza fight. This will be your 22nd Octagon scrap. We talked recently and you said you felt as good as ever and were ready to go another five years. Is that still accurate?
TB: I think we are about halfway through. I would like to get to 44 or 45 professional appearances in the UFC. I think that would be a heck of an achievement! (laughs) We will see how long the body decides to hold up. That will be the determining factor.
I feel great (right now). Everything is on point. Training camp has been awesome. I feel super sharp. I feel like I know what to expect when I get in there. I have watched a lot of film on Johny. Obviously, everyone has been watching him for quite a while as he is a former champion. You always think you know what to expect from what you’ve seen on tape but the reality of it is that you have to get in there and actually see it firsthand and then make adjustments. I feel like I am very capable of doing that and I am very excited for this fight.
Q: MMA fans are well aware of your big fight resume and your signature wins: the Yushin Okami fight in Japan; the UFC debut against David Heath; the Kendall Grove debut at middleweight; the Rafael Natal KO in Madison Square Garden; the fights with Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold. The list goes on and on. Which fights stand out to you most?
TB: For me it is always the comeback against Okami and right next to that is the being able to fight in Bangor. You’re right, I have quite a resume and I have a number of fights that come to mind. It’s an honor and pleasure that I get to do this. I truly do enjoy it. Sometimes you get caught up in it. People wonder how you can go get punched in the face every day. I don’t look at it that way. I get to go do this every day. I am very grateful. There are so many fights that I have learned from and during fight week the guys in my corner, my friends and family are always close by and we always have fun. Fight week with my crew is great. You have been there before. You have seen all the shenanigans. It’s just an awesome time.