UFC veteran Tim Means is already making his TUF 28 Finale message known for opponent Ricky Rainey: Christmas isn’t coming this year.
Losing three of his last four fights had Means itching to get back into the Octagon, even if it meant yet another holiday season compromised.
“It’s pretty regular to have a fight on or near Thanksgiving or some other holiday,” Means said. “It’s a normal ordeal. I can portion myself but I don’t get to dwell in the sweet treats.”
A fighter capable of not one but two Performance of the Night bonuses in less than a year, the recent skid has Means eager to put himself back into the win column. The real test is making sure eager doesn’t turn to desperate.
“It’s still business as usual,” Means said. “I haven't been well-rounded which is my bicker towards myself. I want to show all my tools.”
Means has no problem accepting the recent losses, but challenges anybody thinking his three international defeats were indicative of his capabilities to find a flaw in his homecoming bout in the UFC’s backyard. Las Vegas.
“I think people overlook how hard it is to fight out of the country,” Means said. “It’s a lot of time and effort that goes into that stuff. My whole career is based off of 8 to 10 days notice. Fighting out of country is basically like fighting on two days notice from when you land. Now I’m looking to win fights as violently as possible. You get paid more the better you do it so that’s what I’m looking to do.”
Not only is it what he’s looking to do, but it’s been what he’s looking to do since July when he was originally scheduled to fight.
For Means, there’s more to fight for than another win. It’s all about his family.
“Everything just kept getting pushed back,” Means said. “This is just what I do though. This is my job. My motivation is the payment. It keeps roof over my head and food on my table. I make sure to always stay ready and not get too out of shape. Sitting here for the next nine months has been grueling.”
While he’s happy another payday is finally within striking distance, it’s a fight for pride as well; something Means doesn’t often focus on. Not only would a loss would be handing over the win bonus he and his family look forward to, but it would also be handing Ricky Rainey his first victory in the Octagon.
“Hell no,” Means said. “I don’t want to be his first win at all. This guy is catching the best version of me of all time. You have to take, take, take. My family has given a lot of their time, too, so that I can go out there and sweat, bleed and do what I love.”
Still, he’s not overlooking Rainey.
“He’s big, strong and likes to clinch,” Means said. “This isn’t boxing where they pick a 1-15 guy to come fight the hometown guy so it’s a guaranteed win.
With a uniquely calm feeling before the fight, Means offers one last message to Rainey; a charmless apology.
“To be right up the street in Las Vegas like this, I’m ready to get back in there.” Means said. “I’ve got to go and take Christmas out of Rainey’s hands. Sorry but not sorry.”
Be sure to catch Means and Rainey as they clash on Friday, Nov 20 at 7 PST live from the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.