After posting a 2-2 record between February of 2008 and March of 2009, Tim Boetsch found himself on the outside of the UFC light heavyweight division looking in.
He posted a dominant victory in his UFC debut against David Heath that had many convinced he had the potential to climb the ranks of the division quickly, but he followed up the win with a technical knockout loss to Matt Hamill, a knockout victory over Michael Patt, and a lopsided decision loss to Jason Brilz which earned him his walking papers.
Boetsch admits that he was disappointed when he learned of his release after a .500 start in the promotion, but, now that he has experienced the agony of a release from the promotion, he is not going to make the same mistakes again.
"I was kind of hoping for (the UFC to give me another fight after the Brilz loss), but as it turned out that’s not what happened," Boetsch told HeavyMMA.com. "I went out and got a few wins in some different organizations and now I’m back, proving that I belong there. Everything happens for a reason, and though I was disappointed at the time I got cut, it opened my eyes to how things work and how they expect you to perform. So the second time around, I have better idea of what I have to do to keep my job. I’m definitely in there more educated."
Boetsch followed his release by getting back to action quickly and the heavyweight wasted little time redeeming himself for the humiliating defeat from UFC 96. He came back with a technical submission at "King of the Cage: Thunderstruck", another submission at a 5150 show, and earned a second chance with the UFC after a knockout win over Reese Shaner at "NAFC: Stand Your Ground".
However, even over one year following his last loss, Boetsch continues to look back at the Brilz fight and recognize that anything short of a win is a disappointment for him.
"For me, I obviously felt I had a really bad fight against Brilz and I know I didn’t perform to my potential," Boetsch said. "I think as long as I go in there and put on a great show and come out with a win, I’ll be fine. Anything short of that, I’m disappointed in myself. I definitely want to go in there and, like I said, put on a great show and also come out with a win."
And Boetsch certainly came out with a win in his return to the Octagon, dominating Todd Brown at UFC 117 this past August. Now, it seems the victory has catapulted the light heavyweight to what will most certainly be one of his stiffest tests to date, as he is scheduled to take on wrestling machine Phil Davis at UFC 123 this coming weekend.
He admits that he has gotten away from wrestling a bit after years of focusing on rounding out his mixed martial arts game, but Boetsch is happy to face a wrestler that forces him back to his roots. Against Davis in Michigan on November 20, he understands that his grappling is going to need to be sharp, but feels that he is ready for anything the top prospect plans to throw at him.
"Obviously Phil Davis is an elite level wrestler being a national champion Division I wrestler," said Boetsch. "It was really good to get back to my roots of wrestling and that brought my cardio back to a higher level. That was a big part of my training, just getting back in there and straight wrestling. But I’ve also spent a lot of time in Kirkland with Matt Hume working on the fight gameplan and the MMA training side of things. I feel that this is probably my best camp that I’ve put together for a fight and I’m really excited to get in there and perform."
A great performance will be a necessity for Boetsch this coming Saturday, as he is set to face off with a man that is yet to be defeated as a professional in MMA. Davis has run through everyone set before him in the UFC, defeating the likes of Brian Stann and Alexander Gustafsson seemingly without much effort.
However, just as Boetsch has learned from his own losses, he has studied the mistakes of Davis' previous victims to avoid a devastating loss.
"If you watch film on Phil, you notice that all of his opponents, once they get taken down, they go into survival mode," Boetsch said. "That’s not the way things work out here in Kirkland. Matt Hume preaches an offensive style every time you’re in a fight, so if you can get offense going from your back, I think that is going to disrupt how he’s used to doing things."
"We’ve done a lot of training with getting offensive from the bottom position, whether it be standing up or threatening with submissions. We’re prepared to bring the fight to him, even if it’s fighting off of my back. That’s what I’m going to do."
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