Tim Means Says Bout With Justin Salas “Is Personal…I Don’t Think They Give Us Respect”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After Tim Means scored a unanimous decision win over Bernardo Magalhaes in February to make his UFC debut a success, the surging fighter began mapping out who he would face in his second Octagon appearance. Fortunately for Means it wasn’t long after that he found out the UFC had granted his wish: a fight with fellow prospect Justin Salas.
“I got real excited to fight Justin Salas,” said Means, who trains under Tom Vaughn, the head coach for Fit NHB and Power MMA. “Tom Vaughn came to me and asked who I wanted to fight if I could choose my opponent. Salas was on that card when we debuted, he had come in with a bunch of hype, and I just thought it would be the perfect fight for me. I asked Tom for it and he ended up getting it matched.”
While Means (17-3-1) acknowledges that part of his desire to fight Salas (10-3) is due to the former collegiate wrestler’s prospect status, there are apparently other motivating factors as well.
“Salas has built himself a good record; he’s from a pretty good camp there in Denver (Grudge Training Center), and nobody ever gave me the chance to win the fight when I went into Omaha,” said Means, who won the lightweight and junior welterweight titles while competing for King of the Cage. “Salas and a bunch of his guys have a bunch of hype and I just wanted to fight all of them. That’s just my mentality.”
“Justin Salas is a personal fight for me,” Means added. “I don’t think they give us respect. When we were out there for the Omaha fights they were kind of looking down on us, like we didn’t belong there, and just their attitude towards us made it really personal for me. I fight really good under those circumstances.”
Although Means credits Salas for his accomplishments, the veteran is more than confident that he’ll be extending his 10 fight win streak on June 8th.
“I have no concerns about Justin Salas,” Means said about his opponent, whose six fight winning streak includes wins over Joe Ellenberger, Robert Emerson and most recently Anton Kuivanen. “I just got back from Power MMA in Arizona and they have excellent college wrestlers there; they have excellent strikers there, and I’m going to go in there, do what we do, and make Justin fight my game. They’re thinking I don’t have a takedown defense but we’ll found out on June 8th.”
“He’s a good athlete, he finds ways to grind out fights, but I don’t think anybody’s gotten in his face, test him, beat him up and that’s what I do,” the New Mexico fighter furthered. “We’ve got my cardio level real high so we’ll push the pace for 15 minutes…I’ll find his range, find that timing, and start picking him apart.”
One advantage Means will likely have in their upcoming bout is reach, as the 6’2 lightweight is significantly taller than the 5’8 Salas.
“I definitely don’t want to fight a shorter dude inside,” the man nicknamed“The Dirty Bird” acknowledged. “Salas is a compact dude so I know he’s going to be pretty strong but I consider myself an excellent wrestler too. I’ve been wrestling bigger guys like Aaron Simpson and Ryan Bader, so I’m really comfortable where I’m at right now. I’m really happy.”
Means also continues to benefit from the knowledge and insights of the aforementioned Vaughn, as he prepares for his upcoming UFC on FX 3 bout.
“Tom Vaughn is an excellent coach and he’s been one of the best MMA coaches for a long time,” said Means. “I think he just needed to get that break and Power MMA called him to be their head coach and ever since then I think his stock has shot through the roof. People are starting to know who he is.”