Mike Pyle provided a devastating finish to his welterweight showdown with Josh Neer last night, knocking out his opponent in the first round.
The win also helped him collect a cool $40,000 “KO of the Night” bonus, as was witnessed live on FX.
Pyle, a 36-year-old and clear MMA veteran, has revealed that he still has plenty to fight for, even after 13 years in active MMA.
Not likely to become champion before his career eventually draws to a close, he can still be a tough opponent for the best in the UFC welterweight division.
“I came in and did what I needed to do,” Pyle said in an interview with MMAjunkie. “Josh is a hard guy to put away, and I knocked him out cold. That makes a statement to the welterweight division and to myself.”
In an already cluttered welterweight division, Pyle’s recent resurgence gives UFC matchmaker Joe Silva yet another piece of the puzzle to work with. Pyle has knockout power, despite being tagged by Neer and electing to slug it out with The Dentist.
When the fight hit the ground, Pyle was able to use his strong grappling base to survive through Neer’s submission attempts.
So, we ask: What’s next for Pyle?
A welterweight showdown with Dan Hardy wouldn’t be a horrible matchup, even though Pyle is higher in the rankings now. Hardy, fresh off a UFC career-saving performance against Duane Ludwig at UFC 146, would try and engage in a complete slugfest.
As Sean mentioned in his post-fight matchmaking story, the UFC would be able to market a Pyle vs. Mike Pierce fight. Both fighters have shown they can adapt and force opponents to leave behind their game plan—and Pierce will have to avoid danger for 15 minutes if he wants to try and grind out a victory. The winner will be that much closer to being ranked in the top 10.
Winner of Brian Ebersole and TJ Waldburger: The matchup takes place at UFC on FX 4 later this month, and the winner could be a good fight for Pyle. It’d be especially fun on another free card on FX.
There is a growing movement to book a Pyle vs. Erick Silva fight later this year, but I just don’t see this as a good matchup. Silva is on a tear through the UFC at the moment, and ruining Pyle’s recent momentum could damage other future matchups.
There are a lot of possibilities with Pyle, and it should be fun to see what the UFC decides to do.