UFC 155’s Tim Boetsch: “I Have No Problem Standing in Front of (Costa) Philippou for This Fight”
Believes Chris Weidman’s Saying Anderson Silva is Ducking Him is a “False Statement”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Just a few weeks ago, Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch was preparing to hand rising star Chris Weidman his first professional loss this Saturday at UFC 155, and in the process, make a definitive statement as to who should challenge middleweight champ Anderson Silva next. As a result of shoulder injury to Weidman, however, Boetsch will have to make his title shot case against the latter’s teammate, Constantinos Philippou.
“Yeah, I was definitely disappointed that he had to pull out,” Boetsch said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing Weidman’s withdrawal. “He got injured, but everybody was really talking, and I honestly felt that was a number one contender fight. We both have a great run going so far and I think that would have really set the table for who is next in line.”
Thanks to a memorable, stoppage win over Mark Munoz in July, Weidman received widespread endorsements as the division’s top contender, including one from UFC President Dana White. Boetsch also scored an important win that month, however, as he became the first man in over 20 fights to defeat former Bellator champ Hector Lombard, by handing him a split decision loss at UFC 149.
“I definitely think that him calling out Anderson Silva, and that Anderson was ducking him may have been a bit premature,” Boetsch said, when asked to comment on Weidman’s active campaign for a title shot. “He certainly needed to think about getting through me first, but people will do things for different reasons, and I’m not one to run my mouth, and talk, try to talk my way into fights like a lot of fighters often do.”
“There’s other guys in the weight class he needs to think about beating before he says Anderson is ducking him,” furthered Boetsch, who also extended his sympathies to Weidman, who had his house damaged by Hurricane Sandy. “That’s just a false statement.”
Of course, while Philippou (11-2) isn’t coming off a dominant, KO win over Munoz like Weidman, the Serra-Longo Fight Team member has made fans and the UFC brass take notice by winning four straight fights.
“Obviously he’s not ranked as high as Chris, and doesn’t have the hype that Chris had,” Boetsch said. “But I’ve always been the type of guy that had (Michael) Bisping pull out on the last fight and got Hector, and I’ve always thought that if you really are one the top guys in the weight class, if you’re really the best guy in the weight class, you should be able to beat any guy that comes along.”
After losing by unanimous decision to Nick Catone at UFC 128 in March, 2011, Philippou has gone on to defeat Jorge Rivera, Jared Hamman, Court McGee and most recently Riki Fukuda.
“Costa’s got some great wins,” noted Boetsch, who has also won four straight fights–including a stoppage victory over Yushin Okami– since he moved down from light-heavyweight last year. “He’s strung a few together here and is certainly a force to be reckoned with. People are very excited about his boxing and his takedown defense, so on paper, it should be a tough fight for me.”
While Philippou presents different challenges than the former All American wrestler Weidman, it remains to be seen how Boetsch will look to negate the vaunted striking skills of his new opponent.
“On paper, it’s obviously the classic striker versus wrestler match-up again,” said Boetsch, who is also a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler. “Certainly a different game plan than what we were working on for Chris. So we had to put the brakes on that training, switch gears, and I’ve definitely been able to study film on Costa…it’s a different fight, but it’s a fight we’re going to be ready for.”
“Although he’s had great accolades for being a great boxer, there’s definitely some holes in the game he’s got there,” Boetsch added. “I’m definitely going to look to expose him. I have no problems standing in front of Philippou for this fight.”
UFC 155 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.