The circumstances fighters have had to deal with across the world have been anything but traditional. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected training and countless other factors. Oddly though, for Tim Means, things are a bit more normal now than they were prior to his last trip to the Octagon.
When Means took on Daniel Rodriguez in February before the coronavirus hit the world, he dealt with six opponent changes and deaths to loved ones in the weeks leading up to the fight. Means said he was showing up to training every day, preparing and cutting weight. But his mind wasn’t in the right place.
The end result was a loss to Rodriguez. We haven’t seen Means since but things surrounding the preparation for his upcoming fight against Laureano Staropoli on Saturday seem to be a lot different.
“It’s different from February when we had to bury two family members two weeks before that fight,” Means said. “So staying focused, I thought I was training and preparing correctly, but for this fight I’ve been able to focus better and be more involved with the mental side of it. There was so much going on with that last fight. The focus and the ability to hone in on this guy and this date is night and day different.”
UFC.com talked with Means over the phone to discuss his upcoming fight with Staropoli at UFC Vegas 6 and much more.
UFC: What are some of the thing you’ve been working on since we’ve seen you last?
TM: Staying patient and learning from my last fight. I let my emotions get the best of me under the circumstances of what was going on at that time. So I’m showing myself that I can evolve and get better in mental situations. If I’m getting hit, just staying cool and not losing my temper.
UFC: What do you know about Staropoli after taking time to study some of his previous fights?
TM: He likes to move a lot and is quick. He’s a guy that might like to get in the pocket but, for the most part, he likes to stay outside. I like the fact that we’re at a smaller cage at the Apex so I can cut some of that movement off and fight in a telephone booth.
UFC: Will the smaller cage play to your advantage? How so?
TM: I’m used to fighting in smaller cages from King of the Cage days. He likes to move so much and bounce around on the outside, so I think the limited space will nullify that for him and he’ll have to fight me in the trenches.
UFC: Everything seems to being going well for you in the prep for this camp. How important is it for you to get back in the win column?
TM: The goal is to get your hand raised but things happen, and I’m used to adversity in life. I’m happy to be in this circumstance where I can put food on the table and pay my bills and that’s the most important thing here. But if we can have all the stars align, it’s going to be a great night and we’re going to get our hand raised and try get a bonus check.
UFC: There seems to be an even bigger spotlight on the UFC right now. How excited are you to be headlining the prelims in front of a larger audience?
TM: The main event of the prelims is normally my spot, so everything feels normal. It comes with a little extra bonus because of COVID and we get to entertain and give people something to do on Saturday.