For Tim Boetsch, his fight on Saturday night at UFC 155 wasn't the fight he was expecting.
Boetsch was supposed to face fellow top middleweight contender Chris Weidman, but Weidman had to bow out of the fight last month due to injury. Now Boetsch will be squaring off against Weidman's training partner, Costa Philippou. When the UFC announced Weidman was not going to be able to fight, Boetsch was disappointed at first, but not for too long.
"Initially I was really upset," Boetsch told Bleacher Report. "I was disappointed with a lot of feelings. Honestly it was me being selfish. I wanted to win that fight and say, 'Hey everybody look, I'm the No. 1 contender.'"
"That is the fight that made the most sense," he said. "With that outcome, I think I would have definitely been the No. 1 contender. With that being said, now I'm feeling that Chris (Weidman) has had a real rough go at the end of this year. He has had the hurricane to deal with, his house getting torn up and now an injury with the recovery process to go through. I wish him well and hope he has a quick recovery."
After hearing news like that, some fighters would have chosen not to fight. Boetsch though knows Philippou is more than a formidable opponent.
"It sort of is a step in the wrong direction (the Philippou fight), but for me I don't have the luxury of taking time off," Boetsch stated. "I got bills to pay, mouths to feed. I am closing on a new house next week. I have a lot of monetary needs in my life right now, so not taking this fight wasn't an option. Plus I just want to be in the cage. It doesn't matter who the opponent is.
"I want to keep moving up the ladder, but at the same time, Costa is a tough dude and it's going to be an exciting fight. I think it is going to be a fight the fans can appreciate. He's very tough. I remember watching his first couple of fights and he's scary, looks tough in the cage. He's definitely an imposing figure, spends a lot of time in the gym, comes ready to fight and heavy-handed.
"He's a striker and has a good win streak going. I'm ready for him."
Boetsch and Philippou are riding four-fight winning streaks heading into Saturday's fight. A lot of discussion has been floating around on what a win does for Boetsch considering Weidman has a strong case to be the No. 1 contender and Philippou is right outside the top 10. For the Pennsylvania native, a win on Saturday does a lot for him.
Who is the No. 1 contender in the middleweight division?
"A win here continues to build my confidence," Boetsch said. "When you have confidence in fighting, it is one of the most important attributes to have. It keeps the cage rust off and staying active. I'm fighting a tough opponent and it is very important to keep winning. To get to where I want to get to, I have to keep winning."
Speculation has run rampant on who is really the No. 1 contender for the UFC middleweight title. You have Weidman, Boetsch, Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort as the top contenders.
Boetsch feels it is a race between himself and Weidman.
"Honestly, I don't think there is a clear No. 1 contender," he stated. "I think it is a tie between Chris Weidman and myself. We aren't fighting now, so the winner of that fight is the clear No. 1 contender. That fight isn't happening. I don't know what the criteria is. I have heard a lot of talk about (Michael) Bisping getting a shot if he beats Vitor (Belfort). To me that doesn't make sense at all."
Boetsch and Bisping were supposed to square at UFC 149 in July, but Bisping had to bow out of the fight due to injury. Boetsch stayed on the card and went on to defeat former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard. "The Barbarian" doesn't know if Bisping is next if they both win but knows they will eventually meet inside the Octagon.
"I think it would be a great fight," Boetsch stated. "Obviously we were supposed to fight a little while ago and it didn't happen. I was ready for him then, so I will be ready for Bisping whenever I get him, if it is the next fight or sometime down the road. I know we are going to cross paths, and it is going to be fun."
Unless otherwise stated, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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