After being released from his UFC contract one fight early, former tw0-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia looks to get his career back on track. And what better way to do it than to upset the consensus #1 Heavyweight in the world? He will be taking on Fedor Emelianenko at “Affliction: Bannded”, July 19th.
Most people would be bitter after being fired by their previous employer, and maybe the old Sylvia would have been outraged. However, Sylvia is at ease with the change, and excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.
“I had fought for the title something like eight times (in the UFC),” Sylvia told MMAJunkie. “What were they going to do with me? What was I going to do in the UFC? It was time for a change. Now, I’m with Adrenaline MMA and Affliction. Affliction has seven of the top 10 heavyweights in the world. I think there are some interesting match-ups for me there. I want to fight the best fighters. It was a natural place for me to fight.”
And he will be wasting no time in taking on the very best, an opportunity that he certainly would not have had if he were still in the UFC. The MMA powerhouse has tried on multiple occasions to land Emelianenko, however were unsuccessful to land the most coveted fighter in the world.
Sylvia will be entering the bout as almost a 4-1 underdog, but that is quite alright with him.
“It takes a ton of pressure off (of me),” Sylvia calmly stated. “If I lose, everyone thinks, ‘He was supposed to lose that fight.’ And if I win, it’s a great story about me winning a fight I wasn’t supposed to win.”
He has already fought a lot of the top heavyweights out there, however his new employer presents an opportunity to dip into an entirely new talent pool, which will allow him more opportunities to claim elite status.
“I think I can say I’ve fought more top-10 guys than most people lately, and what I can tell you is everyone in the top five is so close,” said Sylvia. “The top-five heavyweights are honestly so even that on any given night, any one of us could beat the other. There is a bit of a difference from six to 10, but the top five is just even.”
In most MMA rankings, Sylvia’s standing ranges between #4 and #5, putting on the edge of being one of the elite fighters that he is referring to. However, come July 19th, he looks to take a gigantic step over the hump to greatness by shocking the world.