After sketchy past, WSOF 5's Mike Kyle wants to leave MMA with respected career


mike-kyle-10.jpgUsually, fighters are cagey when it comes to their gameplans. But with Mike Kyle, you don’t need to worry about that.

Although he said he’s not about inflicting damage on his opponents, Kyle is, and has been for his entire career, a knockout artist.

Kyle (20-9-1) knows that when he meets Andrei Arlovski (19-10) at World Series of Fighting 5, he’ll be looking to find the ex-UFC champ’s chin, which he’s previously called “weak.”

“I’m sure that’s the way it’s going to work,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio in advance of Saturday’s fight, which headlines the NBC Sports Network-televised event at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey. “We know what each other has, what we have to offer. We’re both confident strikers, so I don’t really see the fight going any other way than us throwing bombs at each other.”

The only difference Kyle sees between his early career and his work of today is his approach to doing what he’s already good at: knocking out people. He’s done it 13 times in 20 career wins.

“Now, I’ve honed in my skills and really started working on my skills and throwing more combos,” he said. “That’s really the secret to the fight. Arlovski is more of a one-two type of guy, and now, I’m able to put more combos together with three or four punches.”

He’s also had good incentive to improve in his longtime gym at American Kickboxing Academy, where a bevy of UFC fighters hone their skills.

“It’s mainly working with those heavyweights and having to run from (UFC champ) Cain Velasquez all the time,” Kyle said. “That’s kind of what picked up my footwork.”

After 12 years in MMA, Kyle has seen whole eras come and go in the sport. The UFC and Strikeforce vet was around for the bar-brawling days of the early 2000s, the dominance of wrestlers, the return of strikers, and now, the hybrid athletes who today populate the cage. The journey hasn’t always been easy on his body. Even at 33, he said he suffers aches and pains not only from fighting, but from his days as a four-sport athlete in school.

Some of Kyle’s injuries have been self-inflicted. He was forced away from the sport seven years ago after being disqualified and banned from the sport for 18 months. And he admits that in his earlier life, he partied just as hard as he trained.

“It took a lot to grow up and realize the things I was doing to my body and putting in my body isn’t the best way to be recovering,” he said. “If you train hard every day, your body needs to recover, and you need to put good nutrients in your body. So I learned the hard way.”

But with that experience, he said he’s a wiser fighter. And with less time, he’s driven to end his career with respectable achievements. Beating Arlovski, who steps in for an injured Anthony Johnson, and one day winning the WSOF’s title are two of those.

“I’m in this sport to get something out of it,” Kyle said. “Now, I’m toward the end of my career, so it’s me (with) focused time, and try to get something out of this sport and don’t cheat myself out of my whole career. I feel like I’d be cheating myself if I did anything else.

“It’s time for me to put up and get on track and do the things that are needed to be successful, and do what I’m capable and what the promoters know what I’m capable of.”

For more on WSOF 5, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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