Exclusive | Mike Kyle talks Feijao; Dropping to middleweight to fight Silva
Mike Kyle (19-8-1) is the closest he has ever been to the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship right now. On May 19, Kyle will rematch former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante also known as “Feijao”. In their first outing Kyle knocked Feijao out in June of 2009. Cavalcante went on to win the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship from Muhammed Lawal only to lose it in his next fight to MMA legend Dan Henderson. With the championship vacant, Kyle feels he is in a position to capture the belt.
“I am excited, and I definitely am excited to be fighting Feijao. He’s a tough guy and tough fight for anyone. This is a fight that I think will put me in the number one contender’s spot. It will hopefully give me an opportunity to fight for that title”, said Kyle.
Mike knows what he has to do to pick up the win, and feels the outcome of this fight will be the same as the first.
“Truthfully, I see myself knocking him out”, Mike stated. “Probably in the second or third round. That’s how it plays out in my mind realistically. Like I said before, Feijao is tough and it’s a tough fight for anyone”.
Throughout his career Kyle has tasted success in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. For a while he struggled with the weight he was most effective at, but recently has discovered where he needs to be.
“Fighting at 205 I really found where I belong”, said Mike. “I’m quicker and my cardio is in a lot better shape. I can feel it and there’s a big difference between light heavy and heavyweight. More than anything it comes down to cardio. I had a full camp this time around, and I’m in great shape. The guys at AKA have been pushing me really hard. They all want to see me win as much as I want to”.
Mike hasn’t ruled out jumping between weight classes for big fights.
“I will probably stay primarily 205. I like to fight at light heavyweight, but I would go to heavyweight again to fight like an Alistair Overeem or a big name like that. I would bulk back back to up to 250 for fights like that. I do miss being big a little bit but it’s about getting titles right now”.
Weight cutting is much easier for Kyle now that he has found a rhythm.
“It’s not hard to cut, but it’s difficult for me to keep the weight off”, Kyle joked. “I can bulk up really easily. As soon as I hit the weights I can put on mass really quick. I’m walking around at like 220 right now. That makes it easier to cut from that weight. I just came down from like 240 you know not too long ago”.
With Strikeforce’s future being unclear, Mike is aware there may be a possibility to fight for the UFC again. His first go round he went 2-1 in the UFC, and despite winning his last fight for the organization Kyle found himself competing elsewhere. With the potential to be a Strikeforce champion and fighting in the UFC possibly around the corner for him Mike admits he would have a hard time making the choice between the two.
“Really tough question”, said Mike. “I’m thinking about my family and thinking long term now. I have to think about my financial situation. I know what it would mean to get the Strikeforce title and go to the UFC with that on my resume. It’s always been a dream of mine to get back in to the UFC again so that’s a tough call to make. I probably should leave it up to my manager and see what they say. I really wouldn’t know what to do there. In the past I’ve lost opportunities to fight for the championship and Feijao got the title shot. I took a fight on short notice and lost. I took that fight with Bigfoot on short notice, like 4 days. Feijao got the shot at 205 even though I was undefeated at that weight. I found out that things decisions like those that can cost you. Like I said the UFC is a dream of mine. They know what they are doing and hopefully Strikeforce will stick around long enough for me to get this title. If I go to the UFC I want it to be with the title so I could possibly fight for the UFC title”.
To prepare for this fight Mike relied mostly on his teammates.
“Kyle Kingsbury and I are working really well together. He has a tough fight coming up and I plan on him going out there and winning that fight”, Kyle said. “It’s good to have guys getting ready for their fights at the same time. Daniel Cormier and Josh Thomson have been working hard and our workouts in the evenings are intense. We’re all basically on the same page. I would have liked to have had King Mo and big Todd Duffee there with me that would have been another plus. We’ve got a good group of guys at AKA and they all train just as hard. It’s been a great camp”.
Typically fighters pace and peak preparing for a fight and Mike is on the downswing in his preparations for his bout on May 19.
I’ve started to back off right now because my cardio is where it needs to be and my body is a little burnt. I feel like I should back off a little bit and start rehabbing my body and letting it rest a little bit. I’ll keep my cardio and endurance up and just kind of lighten up the full contact we’ve been going hard at. I’ve been doing other things like biking and mixing it up a little bit, too”.
Two months ago Mike had a daughter and has started to see things differently, and to start thinking more about where he needs to be when his career comes to an end.
“Having a little girl two months ago, I’m definitely worried more about the future and I know I can’t fight forever”, said Kyle. “I’m hoping that the UFC once they do what they’re going to do with Strikeforce or whatever, that we can get some kind of 401K or something like that. Something we can put our money into with the company for retirement. Benefits for the rest of the family would be great. That’s one of the things on my prayer list. So in three or four years I could be done fighting and get out with my health”.
Mike’s blueprint for success is simple.
“My goal is to capture the title, get on top, and stay on top until I’m done fighting. That’s what I’m working for every single day”.
Kyle hasn’t ruled out anything. In some cases he would make concessions to fight the best fighters in the world.
“I would really like to fight the best people out there. Jon Jones, I consider him one of the best fighters in UFC history along with Anderson Silva. I want to fight those top notch fighters while they are on top still. I could make middleweight if I wanted to, but I definitely wouldn’t do it for just any fight. I would do it for Anderson. I would drop to middleweight to fight Anderson Silva”.
Mike Kyle is scheduled to fight Rafael Cavalcante on May 19, 2012 for Strikeforce. You can learn more about Mike at www.mikekylemma.com or follow him on Twitter @Mak4afight.