For a lot of fighters, they know in the back of their mind they should be competing at a lower weight class, but don't do it for whatever reason. That was never the case for UFC 130 competitor Tim Boetsch, who drops to middleweight for the first time Saturday for a bout with Kendall Grove.
"Had I won that fight, I certainly would still be fighting at light-heavyweight," Boetsch said earlier this week on Bloody Elbow Radio. "I had a perfect camp going into that fight. I fully expected to win. I thought I was going to be able to finish him in the earlier rounds and obviously I got submitted in the second round, so that wasn't how I saw things going at all. Going to back to the drawing board, I was just looking through my camp, what went wrong, was it the wrong game plan but the only thing I could really change or have control over was my weight class. That was the only difference I saw. Phil is an obviously larger opponent, so I just thought that's the only factor I have to overcome."
After two trial cuts, a leaner, meaner "Barbarian" is ready to hit the scales Friday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He says at middleweight, he sees no reason why he should lose another fight.
"I knew when I made the decision to drop to middleweight that it was going to take hard work and discipline," Boetsch said. "I was willing to make the sacrifice and do it because I think it's going to pay off in the long run. I made the cut twice already and have been able to perform quite well the next day. I feel like I'm stronger, faster and a better athlete at middleweight. I'm real excited to get out there and show everybody exactly what I've done, what I've changed and how well I can perform as a middleweight, so I'm excited."
The two trial cuts had mixed results for Boetsch (12-4). He made it both times but each served as a learning experience for him as he prepares for the real thing.
"The first time I did it, I felt like I was going to die," Boetsch said. "I was miserable and I was probably trying to cut more weight than I should of. At that point, I was trying to take off 25 pounds in a short amount of time and that was too much. So I've been able to get my weight down a little bit closer. The last time I did it, it certainly was not fun, but I was able to do it and maintain it for the allotted amount of time it takes us to get to the weigh-in and do all the things the UFC makes us do. I'm thinking the third time is going to be the charm. The third time's the easy one and everything goes smoothly and I won't be stressed out at all."
Boetsch said he expects to walk into the cage around 205 pounds when he meets Grove on Saturday night on the "UFC 130 Prelims Live" broadcast on Spike TV. Grove (12-8, 1 NC) has alternated wins and losses his last five fights. At 6-foot-6, Grove certainly will present an interesting fight for the 5-foot-11 Boetsch. But Boetsch says reach isn't everything in this case and he feels he has the answer for it.
"If reach were everything in this sport, he'd be the champ," Boetsch said. "And he's not."
Heading into Saturday night, both fighters badly need a win. Each lost their last fight, but Boetsch is supremely confident in his chances come Saturday.
"I just have to go out there and fight my fight," he said. "If I'm able to go out and set the tone and bring the style of fighting I know I'm capable of doing, I'm able to execute the way I know I can, I see no way Kendall can survive two rounds. I'm looking for a first or second round finish on Saturday night. It's going to be explosive. Be sure you guys are watching, and don't blink because it could happen fast."
You can hear the entire interview with Boetsch, along with a preview of UFC 130's preliminary bouts, on Tuesday's edition of Bloody Elbow Radio.