Justin Salas Responds to Tim Means: “I Respect Everybody That Steps in That Cage But…I’m Coming At You Full Bore”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Justin Salas recently made good on the hype that accompanied his Octagon debut, as the former NCAA Division 1 wrestler and Grudge Training Center fighter worked his way to a unanimous decision win over Anton Kuivanen in February. While many observers likely made note of the win, so did fellow lightweight prospect Tim Means, who recently informed FCF that he had requested to fight Salas next. The two are set to meet at the June 8th, UFC on FX 3 card.
“Maybe he’s just trying to get himself up for the fight,” said Salas, when asked to comment on Means’ recent revelation that their upcoming bout is “personal,” as a result of feeling disrespected by Salas and his team at the UFC on FUEL TV in February. “I know that me and my camp don’t disrespect anyone.”
“I know we were on the same card and we’ve never really exchanged words between each other, so, I’m sure he’s just trying to get himself up for the fight,” Salas furthered. “I’m not the kind of guy who needs to get mad or get personal with their opponent, but I think that’s how some people need to be…I respect everybody that steps in that cage, but if you’re standing across the cage from me I’m coming to fight you; I’m coming at you full-bore.”
Means (17-3) also made his UFC debut that same February 15th night, and recorded a unanimous decision win over Bernardo Magalhaes to extend his undefeated streak to 10.
“I think he’s a scrappy, gritty kid and that’s going to make for a really entertaining fight, not just for me but especially the fans,” Salas (10-3) noted about the Fit NHB fighter. “They come to see action and we definitely have contrasting styles, which I think is going to create a really exciting fight. I know that he’s a real emotional kid and really gets into his fights; that’s the kind of guys I like to face.”
Prior to signing with the UFC, Means had scored stoppage wins via TKO or knockout in four of his last five fights.
“He poses a big threat to everyone because he’s such a long tall fighter, and he’s been on a winning streak that’s longer than mine,” Salas said about Means. “He’s not going to back off and coast through a fight; he’s going to come forward and he’s going to try to knock you out.”
Salas referred to Means being “a long tall fighter” for understandable reasons, due to the fact that Means is a 6’2 tall lightweight.
“He’s a tall, lengthy kickboxer, and I’m a short, compact, powerful, quote, wrestler,” the 5’8 Salas noted, who holds wins over UFC vet Rob Emerson and the prospect Joe Ellenberger . “I come from wrestling but I’m really comfortable striking; I train with some of the best strikers in the world here at the Grudge Training Center…if he wants to keep the fight standing that’s fine with me because I know I can compete with anybody in the world, standing, on the ground or wherever.”
Although Salas is clearly confident in his striking abilities, the 30 year-old-fighter may need to call on his extensive wrestling background when he faces Means on June 8th. As a result, Means recently relayed that he’s spent time training with Arizona’s Power MMA team, which includes noted wrestlers like Ryan Bader, Aaron Simpson, and CB Dollaway.
“Wrestling is a fickle sport just like fighting, so it’s hard to get all that experience in wrestling that guys like me have in D1,” said Salas, who was also a high school state champion. “I do think I’m going to pose a big threat there, but this isn’t a collegiate wrestling match, so instead of becoming a great wrestler, he just has to stop a good shot and keep the fight standing.”
“I’ve been training with a lot of wrestlers though, a lot of tall, lengthy guys who are also good wrestlers, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve too.”