Image Courtesy of Esther Lin
Rematches are hit or miss. Sometimes you can't wait to see them, sometimes you want to scratch your eyes to save yourself from having to watch them. In the case of Mike Kyle vs. Rafael Cavalcante, it's definitely on my list of rematches that I want to see. Cavalcante has had some good fights since their first 2009 meeting, and Kyle has had a fantastic run over the last two years, with the only blemish during that time being a loss at heavyweight to Antonio Silva. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, MAK talks about his upcoming bout with Feijao and who he thinks has the tools to topple Jon Jones.
*Note: Interviewer is either my co-host, Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, or myself. When I don't conduct these interviews by myself, I just put "Interviewer" to eliminate having to bounce back and forth between three different names.
Interviewer: You are a completely different fighter than you were five years ago. What prompted this evolution in your style?
Mike Kyle: I had to. With the way this sport has changed, jiu jitsu and wrestling have really taken off, so with me being at AKA, I really had to work on all aspects of my game. Now, I can actually say that I'm comfortable in a fight, from any position.
Interviewer: What are your thoughts on Feijao's striking?
Mike Kyle: You know, his boxing has gotten a lot better since the first time I faced him in June of '09. I ended up knocking him out in mid second round. He's had some good fights since then, but it's not too smart to trade with me. It's only a matter of time before something hits, and I really don't believe that guy has a great chin.
His leg kicks worked good for him in our first fight, so I know he might try to capitalize by using those leg kicks. He might try to take me down, but my wrestling really has evolved. I believe that we're pretty much equal as far as jiu jitsu on the ground. I think I have the slight edge in wrestling, and I'm positive that I have the better hands.
Interviewer: How did this fight come about?
Mike Kyle: I was getting ready for Mousasi but had to pull out two different times due to injury. One was a broken hand a week out, and the other was a recurring staph infection after a major surgery I had. I couldn't get into shape because I was always out of the gym trying to heal up from the surgery and the staph.
After I healed up, I was hoping to fight Mousasi, with the winner getting a title shot, I was told. Then he wouldn't take the fight due to me pulling out from the other fights. He had his reasons, but I would never back out of a fight unless it was a last resort. I understood where he was coming from. Dana White, Joe Silva and those guys must have understood where he was coming from, because they were letting him dictate what he wanted to do.
The opportunity came up with Feijao, and he jumped right on it. Most fighters want the opportunity to get back a fight that they lost. I know that he's going to be coming for me. He's training harder. I'm training harder. It looks like it's going to be some fireworks.
Interviewer: You fought for some time at heavyweight, and now you're at light heavyweight. What do you walk around at when not in training camp?
Mike Kyle: Right now I'm walking around between 218-222 pounds. Before camp, I was closer to 235. I try not get any higher than that. If I'm out of shape, I'm at 240.
I took my time dropping my weight off slow, and now I'm walking around at about 218. After my workouts, I'm at 215. I'm in great shape right now. I've never been in as great shape as I am right now. I'm hitting the cardio and working out twice a day now.
I use organic apple cider vinegar early in the morning to spike up my metabolism, and it works good for me. I did get away from the heavy lifting, because I can go lift two times a week and I'm back up to 225. I have to be careful with how I lift, so I'm doing a lot of airdyne bike and cardio. The other day, me and Todd Duffee went on a 38 mile bike ride, so you know, I'm really getting after it.
Interviewer: This is your third time under the ZUFFA umbrella. Are you noticing a big difference in how things are run these days?
Mike Kyle: I do notice a difference. Burt (Watson) taking control of all the hotel arrangements, and running guys around. They are more organized as far as all that. They're helping us out with getting the insurance benefits stuff going. They still don't have the retirement plan that us fighters deserve and need. There's a lot of money out there that they're making, and it's only a matter of time before they start giving it back to the fighters. I pray for that every night, that I'm not hung out to dry at the end of my career.
I'm very happy to be back with ZUFFA. I see them constantly improving their organization, and they're doing good things for their fighters. I plan on being the top guy, and I believe that they have faith in me. I really believe that I'm going to go out there and beat Feijao.
Who knows how long Strikeforce is going to be around. Hopefully long enough for me to get a title, and then I can step in and challenge Jon Jones. I don't like getting off the subject of Feijao, but I really believe that I have Jon Jones ticket, and that I can reach his chin.
He has a huge reach advantage on everyone he faces, and on me, he has maybe three or four inches. He's really versatile, but he's young. I've got a lot of experience, and I've fought a lot of tough guys. I've never seen him get hit hard yet.
He is a tough kid, and athletic as hell, and I don't want to take away anything from his victory against Rashad Evans. It was a great fight. He got a little out of synch in that first round with all Rashad's movement, but he came back, started working, and getting that range down. Rashad stopped moving his feet. That movement that he had going, slowed down, and playing patty-cake got him caught with those elbows. It just goes to show, if you get off your gameplan, even for a second, the other guy will capitalize on it, and it can throw off the whole fight for you.
I've been working at this for a long time, and now I finally have my mindset right. I'm training hard, and my body is working well. I'm doing the things I'm supposed to be doing in life.
Follow Mike via his Twitter, @MAK4afight