What will Ryan Jimmo do as an encore?
There’s a wide range of things going on with Jimmo; he’s one of the fight game’s interesting characters. And yet, to this point he has made a career to this point on the UFC’s periphery.
Jimmo did have that brief moment on the “Ultimate Fighter 8,” but lost the entryway fight to the house against Antwain Britt. That might have been a blessing in disguise, he says. And while fighting in Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship, where he was the light heavyweight champion, he feasted on UFC veterans -- Sokoudjou, Marvin Eastman, Jesse Forbes and Wilson Gouveia.
That was 14 rounds of hard toil, but he won them all.
Yet, when the Canadian finally did debut in the Octagon at UFC 149 in Calgary last July, the fight didn’t even last long enough to satisfy the bull riders who’d gathered into the Saddledome. It was over in seven seconds. One big right hand and boom. Down went Anthony Perosh.
Jimmo picked up an extra $50,000 by earning knockout of the night. His $50K per-punch-thrown is the best average in the UFC heading into 2013. It was so fast, that you wonder if it counts as experience.
““You don’t gain a ton of experience being in the ring for seven seconds, but every organization does things differently -- their pageantry is different,” Jimmo told ESPN.com. “And when I say that, I mean all the build up -- the video interviews, getting comfortable with the staff who are going to be handling you and seeing how they do things. So I guess I gained that experience. And afterward all the media attention, I gained some experience there as well.”
He likes to throw his hands. I think he's been boxing since he was 14. He did some wrestling, so I can see him coming out and wanting to mix it up with some hands and some stand up. If he wants to wrestle that's okay, too, but I see this primarily as a stand-up fight.” -- Ryan Jimmo, on fighting Anthony Perosh
Now that he’s dealt with the process and gained a few fans, he can move on to headier things -- like encores. This is where things get tricky. Jimmo faces James Te-Huna on Saturday night in London at UFC on Fuel 7. The New Zealander Te-Huna has quietly (and violently) strung together a three-fight win streak in the 205-pound division, with a couple of first round knockouts. In fact, seven of his last eight victories have come via KO or TKO.
So though a flash knockout isn’t out of the question for a guy like Jimmo who likes to stand and trade, there’s always the chance a flash knockout could work the other way, as well. Jimmo could end up being the one with smelling salts in his nostrils. This is something he’s thought about.
“James Te-Huna is a big strong aggressive guy,” Jimmo says. “He likes to throw his hands. I think he’s been boxing since he was 14. He did some wrestling, so I can see him coming out and wanting to mix it up with some hands and some stand up. If he wants to wrestle that’s okay, too, but I see this primarily as a stand-up fight. If it happens to go to the ground I’m one 100 percent comfortable there. And if it’s stays on the feet? I’m okay with that, too.”
Jimmo originally hails from Saint John, New Brunswick, but spent his training camp with the Blackzilians in Delmar Beach, Florida. He endured a tough weekend watching teammates Rashad Evans and Alistair Overeem lose fights they were favored to win at UFC 156 (“you know, this is the sport it is -- anyone can win, anyone can lose,” he says), but has been so wrapped up in training that holidays have come and went without his notice.
“I’ve been training since October,” he says. “There’s no snow down here, you know, and my mother had to call me and she said, ‘Merry Christmas, Ryan!’ and I said, ‘Is it Christmas, Mom? I need to go back to the gym, I need to take my nap and there’s a chicken breast cooking. Merry Christmas to you, mom. How are things?’”
Ric Fogel for ESPNRyan Jimmo has been doing more celebrating than fighting as of late.
Though he may have missed out on the holiday cheer in the great White North, Jimmo is finally getting his chance to shine in the UFC riding a 17-fight winning streak. And the Jimmo you see on Saturday night isn’t necessarily the one who fought in the MFC and defended his 205-pound belt twice.
This is a guy who feels he can finally align himself with the stakes.
“I kind of held back and fought a little more conservatively in smaller shows because I didn’t have as much to gain and I had more to lose,” he says. “If I lost in a lower league, well, you know you’re not going to the UFC now.
“Also for me, [UFC 149] was a time to shine and I trained very hard to have that kind of power and aggressiveness in training. So when it came time, it was over and it wasn’t anti-climactic at all. It was the time for me to go in there and really use my skills like I knew I could and not be conservative with it.”
That’s true. It’s near impossible to be conservative on the delivering end of a seven-second knockout.