No one had much faith in Mike Pyle last night. He was an overwhelming underdog against British prospect John Hathaway - and that was just they way he liked it. Pyle, one of Randy Couture's lieutenants at Xtreme Couture, was ready to battle Hathaway and half of Britain to prove something to the fans and himself. He talked to Heavy's Iain Liddle after the fight:
"When they called and gave me the opportunity to accept this fight on this card I was very thankful." he said. "I rose to the occasion. I knew I could beat the kid and to be an underdog coming out here, I loved it. I loved the crowd. I loved that they didn’t like me as much, but I think I maybe captured a few fans afterwards."
The 35 year old Pyle has spent a decade toiling in obscurity. He works with the best fighters in the business, Couture, Tyson Griffin, Gray Maynard and a bucketful of visiting gladiators, but hasn't ever made that leap himself. When Dong Hyun Kim was forced to drop out of a scheduled fight with Hathaway, Pyle told Ultimate Fighter he was ready to prove a point:
"Hathaway has done well for himself — he beat Diego Sanchez, and Diego's no joke, but I'm out to prove to the UFC that I'm legit," Pyle explained. "I'm 35 years old. I'm not going to let some over-hyped London kid just out of high school beat me, hell no."
The win moves Pyle to 3-2 in the UFC and opens the way for matchups with some of the weight classes better fighters. And when the next call comes, Pyle will be ready:
"It’s just a matter of stepping up your game. Say you train yourself on the focus mitts, well you’ve got to train yourself mentally and do some mental preparations for being in something this big."
"This is the biggest and best this sport has got right now, it doesn’t get any better," Pyle continued. "You have to do everything you can to prepare yourself physically and mentally. That’s what I did when I got the call and I took care of business."