BJPenn.Com Exclusive: Tim Sylvia on Fourth Fight with Arlovski, Current UFC Heavyweights and Daniel Cormier
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia has had his share of ups and downs in his MMA career. He is a two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion who has fought a who’s who of heavyweights. After leaving the UFC in 2008 Sylvia’s career fell on some hard times, but he is ready to regain the form that helped win him the title in the first place.
The next stop on his path to redemption will take him to Manila in the Phiippines on August 31 where he will compete in ONE FC 5. The card features a few other UFC veterans including former lightweight champion Jens Pulver, Phil Baroni and a man whom Sylvia is all too familiar with, former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski. The two men have faced one another on three separate occasions with Sylvia winning the last two meetings.
Arlovski hasn’t had an easy time of it either since his days with the UFC ended. Beginning with his knockout loss to Fedor Emelianenko back in January of 2009 he lost four straight bouts. He has rebounded since to win his last two fights under the Pro-Elite banner. There is certainly no love lost between these two heavyweights, but Sylvia doesn’t understand why Arlovski has a problem with him.
“I really don’t know why there is bad blood between us,” Sylvia told BJPenn.Com Radio. “Obviously he’s bitter about the fact that I knocked him out. All I said was that he had a weak chin which I believe to be true and still is. That’s fight talk, I’ve seen him around and tried to be nice and shake his hand, but he’s just an arrogant prick. He’s rubbed some of my friends the wrong way and I dislike him for it.
“I think I’m going to bring the best out of him. Since we really don’t like each other I don’t think either one of us will have a hard time getting up for this fight. I’m expecting him to be as tough of a fight as he has been in the past. He’s still very dangerous, he’s still fast and he’s still a heavyweight so he still hits hard.”
Regarding the fight with Daniel Cormier that was scrapped at the last minute, Sylvia still isn’t sure what happened. Frank Mir stepped up to take the bout, but no one explained why Sylvia wasn’t given the opportunity after it was originally offered to him. Although he won’t face Cormier, he believes he would have come out on top had they squared off.
“No one said anything to us, we were asked to fight Cormier and we said absolutely,” said Sylvia. “We would have loved to taken that fight and everything was in the works for it to happen, but all of the sudden Mir wanted to take the fight. Everything happens for a reason and we were fortunate enough that One FC stepped up and presented us with a three fight deal so we have a home for now.”
“I was very confident about the fight with Cormier. I was going into that fight believing I was going to knock him out. All fighters have that mentality; I don’t know too many fighters who go into a fight thinking they are going to lose. I’m a pretty confident guy and believe I can pretty much beat anyone in the world. I was really stoked about the opportunity.”
Sylvia’s fans have really gotten behind him and flooded Dana White’s Twitter account with messages asking him to bring The Maine-iac back into the fold. White has insisted there is nothing personal between them and Sylvia isn’t about to try and understand why he is still on the outside looking in.
“The fans mean everything to me and that is why I fight,” Sylvia explained. “We fight because we love to compete and also to put on a show for the fans. Having a good fan base is a win-win for any organization as well. I really don’t understand the thought process of White, he’s a businessman and he does a lot of things people don’t understand. At the end of the day I believe I’ll be back in the UFC. Timing is everything and now is just not the time.”
When the current crop of UFC heavyweights was brought up Sylvia had his own opinion on them as well as watching the smaller weight classes headlining UFC events.
“I don’t know where they find some of the guys they are putting on their shows,” said the 36-year-old Sylvia. “Some of their heavyweights aren’t performing like they are supposed to and that’s why you have lightweight fighters headlining some of their cards. Then they wonder why their PPV’s and gates aren’t doing very well. Nothing against the lightweights or anyone else, but the fans love to watch to see the big boys bang.”
Sylvia was also quick to point out that he was impressed with current UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos and also gave his thoughts on Alistair Overeem and Cain Velasquez.
“JDS is definitely legit, he is the real deal,” offered Sylvia. “I think him, Cain and Overeem, once he gets done with his doping issues, are the top three heavyweights in the UFC. I think any fight between those three guys could go any way. I believe we would see a different Cain when he faces Dos Santos again. If he goes in there and uses his wrestling right away it should be a different fight. They are both great athletes and a rematch could go either way.
“Junior is so tough and I don’t know if Alistair has what it takes to beat Dos Santos. I think Dos Santos is a little faster than him and from what I’ve seen in the past, when someone gets in Overeem’s face and bully him he doesn’t do well. As long as he’s the bully everything will go well for him. If you bring it back at him like the way Cro-Cop and Arlovski used to he will kind of fold.”
With 38 career bouts behind him Sylvia understands he can’t fight forever. One thing for sure is he plans on making the most of his time left competing in mixed martial arts.
“I am hungry again, I am back at 265 and looking forward to getting back in there and being at my very best,” Sylvia said. “I plan on going out there and knocking some guys out and eventually making my back into the UFC and make another run and see what happens. I owe a lot to my sponsors, training partners and especially my fans that follow me on Twitter. I am grateful for all of their support.”