Tim Means hits a special milestone when he makes the walk at UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs Gamrot. His bout against Andre Fialho is his 50th professional fight, a testament to longevity of a career spanning nearly 20 years, with 11-and-a-half spent in the UFC.
To know “The Dirty Bird,” though, is to know a fighter’s fighter, a no-nonsense veteran who has been a steady presence in the welterweight division.
“It's flown by,” Means told UFC.com. “I've had a pretty good time doing this. Win, lose or draw, it has given me the chance to meet some cool people, travel, and it's been a heck of a ride.
“When I was younger, I didn't really know where I was going to be. Things have panned out, and (I’ve) gotten smarter as I've gotten older, I would hope, but here we are.”
Means adds on some advice to younger fighters, telling them, “Don’t rush” as they make their way up the ranks.
For Means, however, he has some urgency heading into his fight with Fialho. He heads into September 23 with three losses on the bounce, his longest such streak since joining the roster for the first of two stints in 2012.
In Fialho, he gets a game opponent also in desperate need of a win. Fialho, who kicked off his UFC career with four fights in six months, picking up a pair of knockout wins along the way, is also on a three-fight losing streak. Most recently, the Portuguese representative fighting out of Kill Cliff FC lost to Joaquin Buckley in May. Means isn’t underestimating the 29-year-old in any capacity, though, saying he’s also had some hard luck as of late.
“He doesn't do a lot of volume, but he will get in the pocket and fight you,” Means said. “He looks to be strong, and he'll make a heck of a fight out of it. I have to take him seriously and beat him where he’s best at.”
In Means’ eyes, he believes Fialho’s “best” is in his boxing. Out of 16 professional wins, 13 have come via knockout for Fialho, so Means intends to mind his p’s and q’s in the Octagon.
To break Fialho’s rhythm, Means thinks his jab will be crucial to his success. While he certainly wants to get his hand raised, he is also sure to not put too much weight on the result this weekend. It’s how he has always rode the waves in the mixed martial arts game, and he’s not changing that tune any time soon.
“There's been ups and downs this entire time,” he said. “Sometimes, you're on top of the world. Other times, you’re not. Right now, I can't think of the fights that have already passed. I'm excited for this opportunity, and I'm excited to be sitting here.”
Even though Means isn’t necessarily putting more weight on this fight, he still knows there’s a task to take care of in the UFC APEX. He’s seen it all, and he also knows how badly he misses the feeling of getting his hand raised at fight’s end.
“A win over Andre would just make me feel better,” Means said. “A little bit of an early Christmas present. It’s kind of a crazy thing because we're all working hard to get our hand raised, and there's the other side. You get your hand raised, and you still kind of feel for that other side, but I'm not going to feel as bad with my hand raised. So, hey, the chips fall where they fall, and let's hope for an exciting fight.”
UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs Gamrot took live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 23, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!