Mike Pierce: Welterweight Division Could Shake Up in 2013



Mike Pierce has been grinding out wins in the UFC for three years.

Last month he scored his first knockout in the Octagon, though, when he rallied to finish Aaron Simpson. Next up is Seth Baczynski at UFC on FX 6 on Dec. 14, but before that bout Pierce joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss the Simpson fight, the state of the welterweight division and more.

On getting stunned by Simpson early: “He hits pretty hard, I have to say. I’ve been hit by some pretty tough guys before, but he was the first one that really kind of wobbled me and put me in danger. I knew once I got hit, I had to go into a defensive mode and try and recover as best I could. I was able to stay alive and was coherent enough to fight off a rear-naked choke as well and then made it to the bell. It was quite an experience, one I hadn’t had before, but walking back to the corner, I knew what I had to do and readjust and gather myself and come out and fight my fight in the second round.”

On countering Simpson in the second: “I’d watched enough film on this guy to know that he had power in his right hand, and that was kind of his go-to thing. He had knocked some guys out with it. Why not throw it, right? I saw it coming there in the first round. I just didn’t get out of the way of it enough, and he still clipped me with it, wobbled me. In the second round -- I had gathered myself in between, but I knew if I was in his shoes, I would have thrown the right hand again. Why not? It worked in the first round. Do it again. I kind of felt him -- I just had this weird sense that he was getting ready to load it up again and fire it. I finally got out of the way of it and threw a short counter right of my own and it landed just perfectly.”

On when the counter landed: “As soon as I hit him, I was like, ‘Wow, that felt really solid.’ I started to turn and look to throw my hook, to follow it up, but as soon as I hit him, he just kind of hunched over and was just barely standing up on his feet. I saw his eyes roll into the back of his head. I grabbed him by the neck with my left and just put a couple of more punches on him on the way down, and the ref called the fight right there.”

On upcoming opponent Seth Baczynski: “He seems to be pretty decent in all areas. He’s got a couple of good submissions in his last few fights and a TKO to his credit. He’s definitely a tall guy. He’s probably the tallest guy that I’ve ever fought. He’s going to have some reach, so it’s just a matter of getting inside and pressing the action on him to take away his power.”

On the welterweight division: “It’s really anybody’s game, I think. I think a big question is how healthy is GSP? He’s kind of getting -- I personally think -- maybe towards the latter part of his career. He’s had a bunch of injuries that he’s had to sit out and rehab and heal up. His durability, I think, is in question. We’ll definitely see in this upcoming fight of his with [Carlos] Condit, but I think there’s a lot of guys right there in the mix that could maybe knock GSP off now since he’s had some injuries or maybe GSP just wants to retire. Who knows? It’s really anybody’s game, but there’s a lot of guys in the welterweight division that I think could shake things up for 2013.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 32:39).

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