Every Fight Is A Must-Win For Joey Beltran

Joey Beltran’s knockout victory over former light heavyweight contender Houston Alexander opened the door for “The Mexecutioner” to make the step up to the big leagues.

Beltran debuted with the Ultimate Fighting Championship on February 6, 2009 at UFC 109 against Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard Rolles Gracie. It was a strange fight, to say the least.

The bout featured the poor cardio of Gracie, as well as Beltran’s frustration as his opponent continuously flopped to the ground, attempting to lure the blue belt into a grappling competition. Beltran was having none of it, however, walking away with a technical knockout victory by avoiding the top-level ground game of what was supposed to be the modern iteration of the Gracie fighter.

Looking back on the fight, Beltran is completely unsurprised at the result, especially considering his opponent’s mentality.

“I knew before we even stepped foot in the Octagon that he didn’t wanna fight,” states Beltran. “He was saying that it started off as a hobby, or he wanted to see how far he could go in this sport. You don’t want to be in the UFC Octagon and still have the mentality of figuring out whether you want to fight or not because you’re in there with killers that are coming for your head. You better know damn well what it is you’re doing in there.”

Gracie’s performance was quite the disappointment, but he was not the only one being blamed for the boring, awkward fight. Beltran ran into some critics of his own after the fight was in the books.

“You read the articles after and they’re bagging on me,” Beltran vents. “What did you want me to do? I’m not gonna get on the ground with him. I’m not. That would be retarded. I’m a freaking blue belt. This guy’s only chance is if he gets me on the ground. So every time he flopped on the ground I’d call him up, so the crowd started booing because of the lack of action. But I’m like, what do you want me to do? I’m not gonna just give it up.”

The fight may have turned into a strange situation for a knockout artist like Beltran, but the second round TKO he added to his record also gave him what he really wanted — a chance to continue with the top MMA promotion in the world.

The next step for the heavyweight striker comes against Canadian Tim Hague, who was released by the promotion just months ago. When Beltran’s original opponent was forced out of the match up, Hague stepped in, giving Beltran an opportunity against a much more experienced heavyweight. While he thought the dynamic Corvin would have been a difficult test for him, Beltran believes Hague will bring challenges of his own.

“Honestly, it’s probably going to be a little more difficult,” explains Beltran. “I think Corvin (Beltran’s original opponent for UFC 113) would have been a lot more dangerous in the first two minute spurt, but after that nobody knows what would’ve happened. If he would’ve folded up. If he would’ve been freaked out that he couldn’t knock me out in the first two minutes. There’s that unknown factor with Chad Corvin. Whereas with Tim, the later it goes in the fight the tougher it’s going to be for me. That’s what I honestly feel.”

Looking back on tapes of Tim Hague, one fight stands out. At UFC 102, Hague was brutally disposed of by Todd Duffee in seven seconds, which set the record for fastest knockout in UFC history. The knockout may have exposed an area where Hague holds a big weakness. Hague may be a slow starter with weaker-than-usual striking, but Beltran knows better than to underestimate his opponent due to one extremely poor performance.

“I don’t even really address the Todd Duffee fight,” states Beltran. “It’s unfortunate for Tim. That’s what he’s gonna be associated with the rest of his career. He’s the guy that got knocked out in seven seconds. With that being said, I still think that he’s a slow starter. If I catch him cold, that’s gonna be my best opportunity to get a quick finish because he has shown, especially in that Tuchscherer fight, that he’ll come back strong and catch a second wind. For a big guy, he has good gas. I address his 12 other fights where he performed well.”

Hague may have suffered the fastest knockout in UFC history, but Beltran is not taking the Canadian lightly. For Beltran, every fight has a meaning and an importance that cannot be ignored, and he’s not making an exception this time around.

“To be honest with you, I approach every fight the same way. Every fight to me is a must-win situation, just for pure financial motivation. There’s a big difference between making five thousand dollars or making ten. Getting that win bonus means a lot to me. I approach every fight as if it’s important.”