Saturday night Tim Sylvia fought a recent UFC refugee. A man who gave rising star Stefan Struve all that he could handle. A man who pushed UFC mainstay Cheick Kongo more than ten minutes, surviving an illegal blow and a damaged hand. A man who once challenged for heavyweight gold. And Tim Sylvia demolished him.
It's easy to hate Tim Sylvia. It seems to those who don't know him well that he combines the personality of a douchey commodities trader with the physical appearance of a slightly backwards game warden. It's easy not to care about Sylvia's career. After all, by coming into fights well north of 300 pounds and making no effort to play the media game, it hardly seemed like Sylvia himself cared.
But talking to him last week, I felt like "Big" Tim was turning a page. He was making an effort to answer my questions. He had gotten his weight down to 274 pounds. And he showed he was still a player in this game by making Buentello look silly.
Tim Sylvia is a UFC level fighter. Right now, he's a top 10 heavyweight. He can test the younger fighters rising up the ranks and might even give a handful of the elite a scary moment or two. While he's still relevent, while he can still compete with the best, Sylvia should be fighting for Zuffa. Joe Silva and Monte Cox: make it happen.