Hurtsbad Exclusive: Mike Pyle on John Hathaway and UFC 120 in London

Todd Jackson@tjaxmmaSenior Analyst IAugust 31, 2010

(n.) quicksand (a treacherous situation that tends to entrap and destroy)

There is, perhaps, no mixed martial artist more deserving of such a nickname than Mike "Quicksand" Pyle. Pyle is a veteran MMA submission ace who has made a living consuming opponents with relentless and inescapable grappling.

Pyle has racked up an impressive record while fighting across the globe and competing with some of the best fighters in the sport, many of which he defeated.

His list of victories include, but is not limited to, being the only man to ever submit John Fitch, a win over Bellator standout Dan Hornbuckle, and a win over UFC vet Shonie Carter. He has mixed it up with the likes of Rampage Jackson, and Jake Shields as well.

The man truly has a world-class resume that he wrote with an MMA education he got all over the world as an up and coming fighter. For quite some time, that resume has been scripted under the tutelage of living legend Randy “The Natural” Couture.

Pyle's record stands at 20-7 over more than a decade in the sport. Seventeen of his twenty wins came by submission victory. The simple math tells you exactly why they call this man "Quicksand."

Pyle’s website says the harder you fight, the quicker you sink.

Pyle was kind enough to take a moment to speak with about his upcoming fight at UFC 120 in London England, as well as the recent performance of Xtreme Couture at UFC 118.

Speaking of the Xtreme Couture sweep in Boston, Pyle had this to say.

“I was impressed. Everyone went in with a game plan, stuck to it, and everyone is seeing the results.”

Couture stopped boxer James Toney in embarrassing fashion and Gray Maynard defeated Kenny Florian by decision to earn the No. 1 contender status to Frankie Edgar’s lightweight title belt.

When asked if Pyle felt Maynard could beat Edgar again and become a champion, he wasted no time answering. “Of course, 100 percent”

Pyle discussed how training in a facility like Xtreme Couture helps him. “It keeps me sharp and up to speed on all the new things that are developing in this sport.”

About Randy Couture in particular, “He is a great guy, a good friend. He will always take time out to help you with techniques, and help to inspire you as well.”

The combination makes for a great home for a fighter. “All those things together, and all the other guys, it’s a great atmosphere.”

Surely with guys like Couture, Martin Kampmann, Gray Maynard, and Tyson Griffin roaming the mats over there it is a culture of strong competition and camaraderie.

That atmosphere and environment is where Pyle is making preparations to fight a dangerous British mixed martial artist in John Hathaway. Pyle will fight Hathaway on his land, halfway across the globe in London, England.

The traveling is not something that Pyle is unfamiliar with. When asked about his experiences fighting worldwide, he chalked it up to exposure. “It’s all experience, I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I’ve traveled all around the world and fought in different countries. I’ve got that experience and I know what it takes. It’s just another day at the office.”

As far as fighting in the Brit’s backyard, Pyle is focused on something else and it is not the rabid fans in the O2 Arena. “You can’t try to control things that you can’t control. What I can control is going in there and putting my fist through the back of his head. That’s what I can control and that’s what I’m going to concentrate on.”

Pyle is feeling it click and it showed when he talked about his training. “It’s going great. It’s seven weeks out now, and everything is coming together perfectly.”

As is obvious by his track record, Pyle is a wizard on the ground. With an 85 percent submission ratio in the W column it goes without saying. Pyle has other tools in his bag though.

“My stand up is a little underrated. I might have shown a little bit more in my last fight. I almost had Lennox knocked out, I hit him with some nice shots. That's something that I’m always working on to be better at is my striking. I feel like it’s coming along great.”

Hathaway is undefeated in fourteen fights. Pyle feels he brings a different element to the table that could trump Hathaway. “I think I’ve got the upper hand on experience. He’s fought just a few high level guys, and I’ve fought a handful and finished them so we will see how that works out.”

He went on to talk about Hathaway’s strengths. “Anything that he’s good at, we have guys at Xtreme Couture that are better at it. Maybe his strength is his youth. He’s a young kid, and his striking as well. He did pretty good against Diego. Then again, Diego didn't look good so we will see. We’ll have to see that night exactly what his strengths are.”

Pyle is a former WEC champion in the days of higher weight classes under that banner. As mentioned before, he has fought all over the world and for many organizations. Now that he is in the UFC Pyle talked about motivation and where he sees himself in the division.

“I think I match up well now that I’ve made it to the Mecca of all organizations. I’ve got to step it up and maintain my skill level and get better. That’s what is going to help me, being in the UFC to get better. My plan is to keep climbing up that ladder and put away who ever they put in front of me.”

Conquering the welterweight division in the UFC is a tall order for even the most talented of fighters. After seeing what Mike Pyle can do, understanding the support structure he is framed within, and and the opportunity he has made for himself, it is not hard to see him making a run at it.

The ingredients for success are in place. He has a world class background and upbringing in the sport. Mix that with an opportunity to fight in the UFC on the biggest stage in the sport and it would seem Mike Pyle’s destiny is firmly in his very capable hands.

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