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Tim Means ‘tired of seeing the judges,’ wants early finish vs. Rainey

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After dropping two split decisions in a row, veteran UFC welterweight Tim Means (27-10-1) is frustrated. But ‘The Dirty Bird’ has a shot at bouncing back from those disappointments this this Friday when he competes at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale versus Ricky ‘The Sniper’ Rainey (13-5).

To get his fight with Rainey, the 34-year-old Means had to wait on the sidelines for nine months, which was not ideal. “I was supposed to fight in July, but then something must have happened and I didn’t,” sighed Means, in an interview with Bloody Elbow.

“Then [my fight] got moved to October and I saw Sean Shelby in Dallas and there he apologized to me and said, ‘Hey, it’s a headache getting you matched.’ And he went through eight different guys and said he just had a hard time matching me. He seemed genuinely apologetic.”

“I stayed ready all summer long expecting to fight,” continued Means. “I don’t want to sit that long at all, especially when I feel like I won my last two fights, the judges didn’t see it in my favor, but I’m just ready to get back in there. It’s been too long.”

Means believes his reputation as a ‘dangerous veteran’ is part of the reason why he’s found it difficult to find a dance partner over the past year.

“I think guys that are ranked want to stay away from me and guys that want to get ranked want to stay away from me,” he said. “I can beat anybody in this business on my best night. So it’s a compliment that guys are shy around me, but it doesn’t help me get the bills paid.”

According to Means, the UFC helped him with his bills last year by paying him as if he he’d won his last bout; a razor-thin split decision loss to Sergio Moraes in Belem. The close loss to Moraes came on the heels of another tough split decision loss; to Belal Muhammad, in Australia.

Friday’s fight takes place in Las Vegas, NV, less than a two hours flight from Means home base in Albuquerque, NM. Means said he’s ‘absolutely’ relieved to get an assignment so close to home.

“People overlook just how much time and effort goes into traveling and cutting weight,” claimed Means. “Hell, I took my last two fights on three weeks notice. I arrived late in Australia because of an airplane delay so I didn’t get there until Thursday. So I was trying to do all my weight cutting while I’m in the air. It made it very difficult.”

However, Means is reluctant to blame jet-lag and unfamiliar surroundings for his tough losses to Moraes and Muhammad. He puts the majority of the blame squarely on his own shoulders.

“I’m just more mad at myself,” said Means. “I didn’t show off my tools and I wasn’t well-rounded and I just tried to be in street fights again. That’s something I’ve been trying to beat into myself; being a well-rounded guy and using my wrestling and my takedowns and top control.”

Means said that, during the last nine months, he’s been able to ‘peel back the layers’ of his fight game and really work on his versatility. “It’s something where I have a personal vendetta with myself right now.”

Tim Means told Bloody Elbow he’s fighting himself and Ricky Rainey this Friday night.

Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images and Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

“I want to start showing that I have a good overall game and just show myself that all the work I put into practice is starting to show in my fights. Right now I’ve got my own chip on my shoulder. I have my own goals against myself. Right now I’m fighting Ricky Rainey and myself, so hell, should make for a fun fight.”

In Rainey, Means finds an opponent who is also coming off of a loss. Rainey, a longtime Bellator competitor, stepped in on short notice to fight Muslim Salikhov at UFC on FOX 29 in April. He lost that fight due to a second round KO.

Means isn’t placing too much stock in Rainey’s late replacement loss versus Salikhov. “He got clipped behind the ear, those punches suck,” remarked Means before revealing he scouted Rainey’s older fight for better intel.

“I saw him fight that Michael ‘Venom’ Page guy. He looked like he got frustrated with the footwork and he got caught with a straight right hand. So I think I have to push the pace, make this guy uncomfortable and get the W. I expect him to be a good striker, to be good in the clinch, good kicks, but I think those are my strong points. I’m just going to exploit that and touch the chin and get him out of there early.”

Means, who has 17 UFC fights under his belt, added that he won’t be overlooking Rainey because of his opponent’s relative lack of UFC experience. “I think the UFC has him there for a reason. I have to be very aware of his weapons, so I can’t overlook anybody. I can’t overlook Rick Rainey at all, but like any other time, he’s just in my way and I just have to fight to the best of my abilities.”

Means said, after his past two fights, he’s “tired of seeing the judges,” so he’s hoping for an early knockout or submission over Rainey. Though he stressed he’s not looking past his upcoming opponent, Means did state that he has a list of names ready to call out, should he get his hand raised on Friday.

“I’m looking for guys who come to fight immediately, none of these feeling out processes, none of this ‘let’s hang on for 15 minutes’. I want to fight guys who are down to fight,” said Means, when previewing his hit list.

When asked for more details, Means offered: “There are too many dogs here in Albuquerque, in the same backyard, and I’ve got a bunch of them on my list, but Rick Rainey is the first problem.”

You can see if Means can solve his Rainey problem this Friday by tuning into The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale live on FOX Sports. The action begins at 6:30pm ET and it’s headlined by a high stakes welterweight bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman.



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