UFC Middleweights Tim Boetsch and Mark Munoz face off at UFC 162 in a bout that will likely see the winner return to contention and the loser back to the end of the line. As Coach Mike Riordan explained to us last week in his Fight Grinder, Munoz is one of the most accomplished college wrestlers in UFC history where Boetsch was pretty much a washout at the Division 1 level.
But Boetsch isn't intimidated. As Coach Mike pointed out, his MMA wrestling has been quite successful where Munoz has struggled. Boetsch spoke to MMA Mania about it:
Well, overall, he was obviously a much more successful wrestler than I was, being an NCAA Division I champion, but with that being said, this isn't a wrestling match. I think my wrestling for mixed martial arts is honestly at a world class level because of the way I can mix everything in. Whenever you're taking on a former NCAA champ like Munoz, that guy is bringing in a level of mental toughness that very few other athletes can replicate. The collegiate style of wrestling is such a hardcore style and you have to be so tough to make it through the grind of the long seasons so I give him a lot of respect and I expect to face an opponent that will not break. I'm training extra hard for this fight knowing that he has that wrestling background and he's gonna be a tough guy.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): In your last fight you were looking really good and then just a terrible string of unfortunate circumstances happened for you. There was the torn cartilage so you didn't have the same explosion, then the eye poke, the head butt and the broken nose, it all accumulated. Do you think if those flukey things don't happen, you'd have gone out and beat Philippou? I'm pretty sure everyone gave you the first round against him.
Tim Boetsch: Oh yeah, I mean I flash knocked him out at the very end of the first round with that front kick. He talked about knowing that that was a technique I used and knowing that was something to watch out for and he still wasn't able to stop it as I landed a really good one at the end of the first round. I sustained an injury in training prior to the fight and I aggravated it in the first minute against Philippou so I had to gut check just to get through the first round.
I had to push through, like you said, it was just an incredible amount of unfortunate events in that fight and for whatever reason, that's the way it goes sometimes in fighting. They talk about the X Factor of fighting and that was about 10 X's in that fight. and that's fine. I've moved past it and I'm looking forward to this next fight.
MMA fans are brutally critical of fighters they perceive to be making excuses but it was very obvious that Boetsch was badly hurt in the Phillipou fight and not at his best. Hopefully he comes into the Munoz fight at his best.