Pyle looks to stop highly-rated prospect
Mike Pyle may be the best kept secret in the UFC welterweight division. He has climbed slowly up the ranks on the strength of a three-fight win streak, halting the progress of prospect John Hathaway at UFC 120 and then earning a decision victory over jiu-jitsu ace Ricardo Almeida at UFC 128.
“I love the matchup with MacDonald and I think experience will dictate this fight. If it goes to the floor I look for my jiu-jitsu to be superior to his. If it gets to the ground, then it does, but anywhere this fight goes I’ll be right at home. I’ve been fighting since 1997 so I have a lot of experience on him, and that is going to show through in the fight. It’s going to be the factor that gets me the win.”
When the bout against MacDonald was announced, comparisons were made to Hathaway. Pyle sees parallels connecting the two prospects, but feels that the matchup with MacDonald is more significant in the welterweight picture.
“This is a fight to go up the ladder. MacDonald has youth behind him, but I’m not worried about it because that’s just a number. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my entire career. There are some similarities to the Hathaway fight. He was on a tear for awhile, beat some good guys, but then ran into a fighter that was just more experienced.”
MacDonald bounced back from the only loss of his young career with a lopsided decision victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 129. He manhandled the Cesar Gracie product for three rounds, and while the Canadian is looking to pick up more steam in the divisional picture, Pyle is currently riding a wave of his own.
“MacDonald looked great in his last fight but he was fighting a 155-pounder and he should have looked great against a 155-pounder. Hathaway was a much bigger fighter compared to MacDonald, and I was able to handle that situation just fine. I think I handle this one even better.”
“I feel like I do have the momentum going into the fight with the wins I’ve put together. I also feel I have an advantage with my experience. Hopefully a win over MacDonald helps me break into the top 10. Right now I’m focused on defeating him, doing my best and being able to control what is in my realm to control. What the UFC wants to do with me next isn’t something I can’t control. All I can do is go out there and win, put on a good show, come into the fight in great shape and get after him.”
Pyle is regarded as one of the division’s savviest fighters. His time in the cage has given him plenty of education, but he credits a dietary change for his recent surge.
“I am working with Mike Dolce again for this fight. The process has me always refueling my body with the right food and whether I’m in camp or off, I can maintain a good diet. I feel it really does help and I can tell a big difference. My diet was something that I really didn’t pay a lot of attention to in the past. Working with Mike has opened my eyes to a lot of things and it has really helped my performance.”
It has been a long road traveled for the Xtreme Couture fighter and he has no plans to end that trip in Philadelphia.
“Fans can expect to see the same thing they always see from me. I’m going out there to get the job done. I will approach this fight in the best tactical way, as I have all my past fights and I’m going to outwit him and outhit him.”