Baltimore - Tim Boetsch was on a roll. He had won three fights in the UFC since dropping from light heavyweight to middleweight and had just defeated the highly touted Hector Lombard in Lombard's promotional debut at UFC 149. That roll came to an abrupt stop when Costa Philippou stopped him by TKO at UFC 155. Boetsch then slid a bit when he dropped a unanimous decision to Mark Munoz in his next outing. The two defeats marked the first time Boetsch had lost two consecutive fights in his professional career.
Boetsch rebounded with a split decision victory over C.B. Dollaway at UFC 166. On Saturday, Boetsch (17-6) will look to make it two in a row when he faces No. 5 ranked UFC middleweight Luke Rockhold (11-2) at UFC 172.
Boetsch, the No. 13 ranked 185-pounder said of his two consecutive losses, "It's a scary thing to have back to back losses. It was the first time it ever happened to me so I knew the weight of that fight against C.B., and I was happy to get in there and get the win. I was really happy to turn things around and finish out the year with a win and really set the precedent for this year."
When the call came to fight Rockhold at UFC 172, it was not unexpected, as Rockhold was originally booked to face Boetsch at UFC 166 before an injury forced Rockhold from the fight. Despite the fact that Rockhold is coming off a first round TKO win over a man that defeated him (Philippou), Boetsch was happy to sign to face Rockhold, "I love the match up. Whenever you get a chance to fight a guy like Luke it really tests your ability as a fighter."
When asked exactly what kind of fighter Rockhold is, Boetsch said, "They guy's athletic. His striking ability is top-notch. You're going to have to be careful in there. You can't let him dictate the fight, which he is used to doing because of his ranginess. I feel like if you're aggressive enough with him that you can break that down and get (the fight) to where you want it to be."
Boetsch is aware that he will be a significant underdog when he steps into the cage on Saturday night, but he said that's something that he has become accustomed to during his time in the UFC.
What Boetsch does have some problems with are those that subscribe to the philosophy that fighters are only as good as their last fight. "To train my entire life in martial arts, and to be judged by one 15 minute fight is very frustrating," Boetsch said. "I think it's pretty disrespectful to judge you on that, but it happens - that's the nature of the sport."
The nature of the sport also came into play when Boetsch offered his prediction for the outcome of the fight, while he said he was hoping for a quick knockout, it was not something he was counting on against Rockhold. What he was counting on was, "We're both probably going to end up in the ER."