1. Deep, wet sand that you sink into if you try to walk on it. 2. A treacherous situation that tends to entrap and destroy.
Mike “Quicksand” Pyle is the former WEC Welterweight champion, and an experienced veteran in the sport of mixed martial arts. This Saturday, Mike will take on Jessie “The Ox” Lennox at UFC 115.
[Kevin Sampson] Mike, first of all, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me today. I really do appreciate it.
[Mike Pyle] You’re welcome.
[Kevin Sampson] Just a little bit of background: What originally got you involved in martial arts and competitively in Mixed Martial Arts?
[Mike Pyle] The UFC did. I watched the old films. This guy who was training Tae Kwon Do with me was like, “Man, you gotta check this cage fighter stuff they got going on. There’s this guy that lays around on the ground and breaks people’s arms and s—t.” And I was like “Okay, let’s check it out.” And of course, it was Royce [Gracie] who was going around breaking everyone’s arms and choking the s—t out of ‘em. So I was like, “I’m interested in that.” So, I started looking for grappling schools and things like that.
[Kevin Sampson] Your very first professional fight was against Quinton Jackson. Apparently that is the first mixed martial arts fight of record for both you, and for “Rampage” Jackson. What can you tell me about that fight?
[Mike Pyle] I was 175 pounds soaking wet. And he was like 200 pounds or so. I agreed to it. I wasn’t thrown in there. I learned that I needed to get better at striking, not just rely on Jiu Jitsu only because that’s all I was trying to do, and he was able to counter that easily with his brute strength. Picked me up, throwing me around. Throwing me out of the ring. It opened up my eyes up that I needed to get more well-rounded.
[Kevin Sampson] What would you say is your proudest achievement in your Mixed Martial Arts career?
[Mike Pyle] I’m gonna have to say making it to the UFC. And just being able to be professional. Those two things are the chief things for me. Just being able to do what I love for a living and being able to do it in the UFC, the UFC, from what I’ve experienced, they just take better care of you. It’s more on top of things and more well-organized.
[Kevin Sampson] When I was looking over your record, the thing that really jumps out at me is this: Mike Pyle, the only fighter who has ever made Jon Fitch submit. What can you tell me about that fight?
[Mike Pyle] Oh, it was earlier in both of our careers and I think I was just a bit more advanced than him at the time. I believe he and I spoke after and I believe that was his first or second fight. He hadn’t been training in a lot of Jiu Jitsu and, of course, that was my background. And he wanted, as a wrestler, to go to the ground, so when it did go to the ground, I just had a bit more of an advantage and experience on the ground than he did at the time. We’ve both come a long ways since then. I was just a better man that night, that’s all. I’m sure he went back to the drawing board and began to learn how to stay out of a rear naked choke or to learn it.
[Kevin Sampson] Another of the big names on your record a little later on in your career in the WEC: Shonie Carter. Once again, you got the win by submission. Can you tell me a bit about that fight?
[Mike Pyle] Yeah. So you know it was a little nerve-wracking or whatever. But I was defending my title [Mike was WEC Welterweight Champion at the time] and there was no way I was going to let anybody come in and take it. I went after him right off, cracked his nose real good, he started bleeding everywhere. He took me down, and he slowly sunk in Quicksand. I caught him in a triangle.
[Kevin Sampson] Upcoming fight: Next Saturday, you’re going to be fighting Jessie “The Ox” Lennox. What can you tell me about your opponent?
[Mike Pyle] Well, he a tough kid. He had a tough fight with Rick Story. So he had a good, tough fight there. He was getting hit with some tough shots and he was able to stay in there and go the whole fight. From that I can tell, he’s a tough kid. That’s about it, I’m just going to go in there and give him the business.
[Kevin Sampson] How do you think you match up with him?
[Mike Pyle] I think I match up well with him. I’m a bit longer than him, so striking might play a role more in the favor for me. I feel that I have the competition advantage as well.
[Kevin Sampson] Something I’d noticed. As I was reading through your biography online, it said that you picked up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by watching videos and more or less teaching yourself.
[Mike Pyle] Yeah I’ve never had any instructor in grappling.
[Kevin Sampson] So no formal teaching?
[Mike Pyle] Nuh uh. Completely self-taught.
[Kevin Sampson] It’s crazy, because without any formal training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and yet you have 16 of your 19 wins by submission. That’s really impressive.
[Mike Pyle] Yeah, thanks. Yeah, I’m completely self-taught, for the most part, in mixed martial arts. The first half of my fighting career was just me and that was it.
[Kevin Sampson] What’s your favorite submissions move, anyway?
[Mike Pyle] I would have to say that it would be any type of strangulation.
[Kevin Sampson] So rear naked or guillotine or darce choke?
[Mike Pyle] Yeah, as long it’s a choke. Back in the day, when the warriors would fight. Okay, you get the guy in the arm bar, he can still stab you or kill you with the other arm. He’s not done, you know what I mean? But, you get him in a choke and that’s it. That’s as good as done.
[Kevin Sampson] Outside of submissions, where would you say you are most dangerous and most effective?
[Mike Pyle] Well, I don’t know. I knocked out Gustavo Machado. My hands are a lot more lethal than people think—my striking and my knees and things. A bit more lethal than they show on record. Hopefully, in this fight, that’ll show because I’ll have the advantage in the striking, I think, in this fight. Competition-wise, I think I’ve got it. I’ve got the advantage. I’ve gone against bigger, tougher guys. I’ve finished bigger, tougher guys in fights. I’ve been in knock-down-drag-out fights. I’ve been there and I’ve done that in pretty much all of the organizations out there, including the UFC.
[Kevin Sampson] You have yourself, Martin Kampmann, Tyson Griffin, and Mac Danzig all on the same card. What’s that like at Xtreme Couture with so many people getting ready for their next fight on all the same day?
[Mike Pyle] Gets you amped, man! Gets you on your toes! Gets you ready to go! It helps a lot.
[Kevin Sampson] In the main event Saturday, who do you have, Rich Franklin or Chuck Liddell?
[Mike Pyle] It is a tough one to call, but I’d almost bet my truck on Liddell.
[Kevin Sampson] Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin?
[Mike Pyle] I’d like to see Carwin take it.
[Kevin Sampson] Philadelphia Flyers or Chicago Blackhawks?
[Mike Pyle] Philly.
[Kevin Sampson] Lakers or Celtics?
[Mike Pyle] Lakers, baby!
[Kevin Sampson] Any piece of advice you’d give to anyone getting into Mixed Martial Arts?
[Mike Pyle] Anybody who’s looking to get into Mixed Martial Arts, you’d better be ready to work hard and be 100% dedicated, because this is the hardest job an athlete has in the world today, hands down. So, it’s not a walk in the park. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV. It’s hard, it takes dedication, it takes emotion, it takes sacrifice, you better believe it. Learn to give up all those things and work hard. Cuz it’s hard. Nothing easy about it all.
[Kevin Sampson] I appreciate you talking to me today, and good luck in your fight Mike!
[Mike Pyle] Thanks a lot.