"I certainly don't think Nick Ring's going to stop me and I don't see anyone in the foreseeable future that is going to stop me." - Tim Boetsch
Some people say a plan is just a list of things that don’t happen, but those some people are not nicknamed “The Barbarian”. At UFC 130, Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch had a plan and it was to dominate The Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner Kendall Grove with his size and strength. The plan was to make a statement in Boetsch’s debut at middleweight that there’s a new powerhouse to deal with in the division. That plan worked itself out to a “T”.
“I felt like the fight was one-sided because I was able to implement my gameplan,” affirms Boetsch. “It sort of seemed like we were two different weight classes when I decided to close the distance on him and I was able to do it. I took his range away from him. He stung me with a couple jabs, but I was able to move right through them without much concern and get a hold of him and get the takedowns pretty much at will. My strength was certainly a factor in that fight and I'm looking to do the same in this upcoming fight.”
In the midst of his second stint in the UFC, Boetsch decided to drop the 20 pounds from light heavyweight to middleweight to make a serious run in this new weight class. “I was more excited than anything else to see what I was actually capable of at middleweight,” says Boetsch who had previously gone 3-3 as a 205er in the Octagon and was well known for his might. “I certainly proved to myself I made the right decision in dropping weight. I felt a lot stronger, my speed had definitely increased from when I was at 205 and I felt in a lot better condition, so I'm glad I made the decision. I think in my first fight, I made a statement to everybody that I made the right choice.”
The unanimous decision win over Grove in May was a resoundingly positive showing by Boetsch. He looked more than comfortable in all areas of the fight and kept his pressure and pace on Grove high for the three rounds. Most importantly, the former Division I wrestler from Lock Haven University’s takedowns looked as vicious as ever.
“Guys who get in the cage with me should expect that if I get my hands on them that I'm going to return them to the mat fairly violently.”
In many ways, Boetsch is new and improved at 185.
“I move better,” he explains. “My submissions on the ground go together more smoothly. My wrestling and my scrambling is better. At light heavyweight sometimes, I was feeling like I was getting into my own way. That's not there anymore. I feel like everything is more smooth and fluid, and with that there's the speed and power. It makes me more dangerous.”
The next fighter to challenge the svelter Boetsch will be TUF alum Nick “The Promise” Ring at UFC 135 in Denver, Colorado. It’s a classic paradoxical matchup of wrestlers where an irresistible force, the undefeated Ring, will meet the immovable object, “The Barbarian”, in the Octagon. Ring is coming off a most impressive performance against James Head at UFC 131, which he won by rear naked choke in the third. Ring was stumbled briefly in the first round, but commanded almost every other second of the fight, mostly with his superior ground game.
“I think Nick's a very good fighter,” admits Boetsch. “He's strung 12 wins together and is undefeated. He's a tough guy and always comes in shape. He seems like he is mentally tough and I've seen him get hurt in fights and battle back and win. Whenever you see that, you know there is a lot going on inside the guy's head that he is mentally tough and willing to battle back. I'm preparing for a very tough fight. I'm expecting Nick to bring his ‘A’ game for 15 minutes. I'm preparing for a fight that is going to go the distance and will be fought at a hard, fast pace.”
With that being said, the 30-year old plans to enter the cage to make another statement as a middleweight and not only provide Ring with his first loss, but do so like “The Barbarian”. “I want to finish Nick Ring and do it in a fashion that people are like 'wow, that was brutal',” asserts Boetsch, who has finished 11 of his 13 wins and is looking to add to that. “I want to finish him early: either knock him out or submit him. I want people to think ‘this Tim Boetsch guy took an undefeated fighter, a guy no one has been able to beat, and Tim finished him.’ I think this fight will further show people that I do belong at middleweight and that I can do a lot of damage at this weight class.”
To prepare for this clash, Boetsch returned to the hallowed halls of AMC in Kirkland, Washington under the watchful eye of “The Wizard,” Matt Hume. “'I’ve had a great camp out there with a lot of really tough fighters, great sparring and Matt Hume in my corner gameplanning and pushing me harder to places I maybe didn't think I could go,” states Boetsch, who has been training religiously at AMC with Hume for the past three years and believes we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg of his UFC potential. “I'm only getting better at middleweight. This is only my second fight at middleweight, so my body is still adapting to the change. I'm still figuring out how to use my new tools that I've got here.”
Generally speaking, the key to getting better at anything is about adding more resistance. The ability to overcome greater adversity. To defeat an even greater challenger than the last is the true mark of improvement. Boetsch’s debut at middleweight was against a well regarded opponent in Grove, who is 6’6” and a 13 fight Octagon veteran. Boetsch doesn’t have it an easier tangling with the unblemished record of Ring. But he is ratcheting up the competition level inside the cage, which means he is only pushing himself harder outside of it with the crew at AMC.
“You have to go to where there are tough training partners,” states Boetsch. “That goes back to my college career in wrestling. There were schools that offered me scholarships and offered me to be the number one guy in the room and have a varsity spot. But you need to be in a room with guys that can beat you up and will push you to the next level and that's what Matt Hume and the entire AMC team provide out there. There's no such thing as an easy day of training, especially when we go spar. I expect to get my head ripped off a few times in there and that's what you need to get better. If you're in a room where you're just beating everyone up and not having to push, then you're not going to get better as a fighter. You need to have guys who are going to test you physically and mentally.”
On September 24th, Boetsch wants to end Ring’s win streak and looks to start one of his own. “I had my debut at middleweight and I was successful and, now, I would like to string some wins together. That's where my mindset is at. I certainly don't think Nick Ring's going to stop me and I don't see anyone in the foreseeable future that is going to stop me. I'm very excited to get in there and prove to everybody I'm a contender at 185.”