I got the chance today to speak with Tim Credeur, the most recent fighter to be ousted from The Ultimate Fighter 7. In last night’s episode, we all saw Credeur drop a unanimous decision loss to finalist Jesse Taylor.
Tim had a bunch of thoughts regarding the fight itself, the show in general, his upcoming fight at the TUF finale show on June 21, and the upcoming fight between coaches Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Forrest Griffin.
Paul Balsom: After waiting a long time, you finally got to see last night’s episode. What are some of your thoughts?
Tim Credeur: I thought the fight was… a lot better than I thought it was. I think from my vantage point in the fight, on the bottom eating elbows for fifteen minutes, that fight was pretty difficult and I thought it was a lot more one-sided. When I was watching the fight, I feel like I did a lot better than I thought I did. I threw pretty much every submission I knew, but it was tough. Training with a guy like Jesse, who’s big and strong, for six weeks, he knew a lot of my game by then. It was just tough to catch him in anything. I think the fight, all in all, was pretty exciting, and the show was pretty exciting. I think America got to get a firm understanding of Jesse Taylor and his intensity. But yeah, I enjoyed the whole time I was on the show; it was unbelievable. So, all in all, I think the season went much better than I thought it would.
PB:There was one scene in the show last night where you were telling Jesse how to defend the triangle, and you got a little bit of flack for that. After fighting him, would you take that back, or do you stand by what you did?
TC: Jesse is my friend, and I’m probably a better instructor than I am a fighter. If I see a friend of mine doing something wrong, I’m going to let him know. I’m going to give him my best advice on how to help him. It may be that that did backfire on me during the fight, but I don’t care. If I’m going to beat a guy, I want to beat a guy doing his best. I don’t want to beat a guy that keeps doing the same stupid stuff in practice everything then catch him with it. It sounds stupid because it is a six-figure contract with the UFC on the line, but my integrity can’t be bought. I’m going to be the guy I am regardless of any of that other stuff. I was friends with Jesse before, and I’m going be friends with Jesse for the rest of my life. So no, I don’t take it back. I didn’t really think about what I was saying, or what I was telling him at the time, but that’s just the kind of guy and the kind of coach that I am. I definitely don’t regret it, and I don’t take it back. During the fight, he did get out of a lot and he did manage to get out of a couple triangles, so maybe it backfired on me, but I don’t really care.
PB: If you had to fight him a second time, how would you change your strategy?
TC: I don’t really know. No one was really able to keep Jesse off of them. Jesse’s takedowns are amazing. He’s pretty short and stocky, so for that weight class, when he shoots on you it’s pretty tough. He took Dolce down a couple of times, who is a really good wrestler, and Dante’s another good grappler that Jesse took down over and over. So I’m not really sure that I could stop the takedowns.
My corner was saying a lot of great things during the fight… to keep my butterfly guard, try to get over-hooks, and continue to work the sweep, all of which I did in the second round. Sometimes I’m a little too aggressive, and I just continue to go for the submissions regardless of the bad positions he put me in. I did that in the second round and lost that top position. I probably should have just stayed on top and beat on him for the rest of that round and hopefully taken some out of him.
I probably could have stopped that takedown in the third, but I had kind of a shoulder injury going into that fight from the Dan Cramer fight. I wasn’t really able to separate myself from Jesse to get my under-hooks in, so it was kind of tough having issues with that shoulder. I think I would work a little more on sweeps, and if I did get on top, I’d stay on top and make him pay for giving me the sweep. I wanted to try and lull Jesse into standing with me during the fight, but he knew how he had to win the fight.
All in all, I can’t say that the fight didn’t go according to my plan, other than none of the submissions I threw didn’t stick. If one of those submissions ended up landing… you know, you’d be talking to Jesse right now instead of me. But that’s how it goes I guess. It was disappointing, but I knew that any second I could have caught him. Some of my injuries caught up with me at that time, and I was having a tough time doing the things I normally do. I think the fight would be a little different if we did it again.
PB: Overall, how was the experience of living in the Ultimate Fighter house for you personally?
TC: There are two sides to that question. For my career, it was a phenomenal experience. For exposure for me and for my future in the sport, it is an opportunity that you can’t purchase. It definitely has changed my life.
Now, in terms of what the experience was like for me personally while I was there, it was a nightmare. You are living in a very small isolated environment with 15 other people that all want to kill you, so it is a pretty difficult and volatile situation. The training situation was really tough as well. Training with people, like Jesse, who you are going to fight is hard, because by the time you get to the fight, they know a lot of your game plans and your little tricks, and it’s tough to beat them. It was very tough being away from my wife and my family. For me, as a fighter, that is where I draw a lot of my support, so it was hard for me in that sense.
The training we got on the show with Forrest and the rest of the team was amazing. For my career, you can’t buy something like that. It was tough though, and it definitely an exercise in mental fortitude. I don’t think a lot of the fighters are ready for it going in, but it was really tough mentally.
PB: Building off of that, you mentioned your training with Forrest and all of the resources you had on the show. There have been some rumblings out there saying that maybe Forrest over-trained his fighters, or Forrest trained you too aggressively. What are your thoughts on that?
TC: I disagree. In my opinion, Forrest looks at it as his job. He took the job as being a coach on The Ultimate Fighter as a job. He’s not there to be on camera or to be cool. He took it as his responsibility to provide an environment for some up and coming fighters to get better. He made it so we had a couple sessions or two or three hours per day to train. There were many times I sat out of practice for a variety of reasons: my shoulder hurt, my back hurt, I felt over-trained, or just like I was tired and needed to rest more. I had no problem telling Forrest or any of the coaches that I wasn’t going to train for that session. At no time did any of them make fun of you or belittle you if you felt the need to rest. The jobs of the coaches were to provide the environment where there was some real training. You needed to take the responsibility to train if you wanted to. Being a veteran and knowing my own body and knowing how fighting goes, I don’t know if I had a bigger advantage because I was willing to say that I wasn’t training that day or what, but I had no problem telling them. I realized that at the end of the day, I’m on this show to win. I’m not on this show to be a training all-star… I’m here to win the show. If that means that I need to rest my body to heal, then that’s what it means, and I have no problem telling Forrest Griffin or Dana White or anybody else what I feel my body needs.
Maybe some other guys were intimidated or they didn’t want to seem like punks or whatever. So they did all of the training, and it was too much for them to handle. So I’ll chalk that one up to experience. I’m an experienced fighter, and I know what my body feels like and I know what it does, and what it is and isn’t supposed to do. So, I don’t think Forrest over-trained anybody, I think those people probably just over-trained themselves.
PB: Going back to the beginning of the season, what were your immediate thoughts when you found out that you were going to have to fight to get onto the show?
TC: My immediate thought was… “If I show back up in Browbridge after three days, my wife is going to leave me!” I really did think that! We actually got a memo that said we had to get off the plane at 190. Again, I don’t know if it’s my experience, or maybe my sharp intellect, I don’t know, but that tells me that I’m fighting pretty soon. I don’t know what that tells other guys, but for me, if the UFC tells me to get off the plane at four or five pounds above my weight class, I know that means that they’re going to expect me to be at 186 pretty soon. So my training camp going into The Ultimate Fighter was about eight weeks before the show and I was ready to fight when I got off of the plane. I was absolutely sure that they were taking me directly from the airport to an Octagon to fight someone… I mean, I just knew it. I had talked to some other guys that had been on the show, and showing up five pounds above the weight class was never something they had done with anybody before. So, I knew something was amiss.
So, it didn’t really surprise me. The guy that I ended up fighting first ended up being probably one of the most experienced guys of the whole 32-person cast. Eric Charles was 10-5 I think. He is an ex-boxer, kick-boxer from the Boston-area. He had great stand up, but a really suspect ground-game. That’s not necessarily a good thing when you’re fighting me, so I did what I had to do. I took him to the ground and tapped him. But like I said before, I expected to be fighting, I knew it was going to happen, I knew I was going on a fighting show, so when the time came, I wasn’t really too surprised.
PB: It seemed though, on that first episode, like it was a huge shock to some of the guys. Were there a lot who just didn’t pick that up, like you did?
TC: Yeah, there were a lot of people who were completely blown away. They were confused, had no idea, some had quit their jobs thinking they were already on the show. Not that I didn’t think I wasn’t already on the show, but I didn’t think that there was a possibility that I could be headed home after three days. I would say that was shocking, but the fact of me fighting quickly, I knew that would happen.
The whole point is that the UFC are trying to find fighters that are capable of dealing with some of these adversities. Now in the UFC, guys have to fight pretty regularly on short notice, and you have to fight all over the world and in all of these strange environments. That can be very taxing mentally. So TUF is kind of like a microcosm of that. There are a lot of different variables, and a lot of different scenarios that they get you ready for. It seems like the people that can handle some of situations on TUF are the type of people that can handle being in the UFC. Those are the things that guys don’t really pay attention to before they come onto the show. People get really worried about their jiu-jitsu and their boxing, but that mental game is huge. So the first fight was just one in a series of mental tests in The Ultimate Fighter, you know? Some people could handle it; they got in there and beat their guy and moved on, and some guys didn’t. The UFC is looking for people who can deal with it when things don’t go according to their perfect plans. Things don’t go like that, and that’s not how life works. The mental aspect of the show wasn’t too hard for me though. That’s probably where I’m best. Mentally I am probably better than I am physically. So I think it was a good opportunity for me to flourish in that type of environment.
PB: Are you going to be fighting for the UFC in the future? How was your correspondence been with them since the show?
TC: I’m fighting in the finale on June 21. I am definitely on the card, but I can’t say who I am fighting yet. At this point in my career, I plan on fighting for the UFC and staying with them for as long as I can. If for whatever reason I lose that contract and I’m no longer fighting for the UFC, it’s going to be really tough to go back to little small local shows. I like the UFC, I’ve always wanted to fight for the UFC, and it’s where I want to finish up my career. So, right now, I’m definitely contracted with them and I don’t plan on going anywhere.
PB: So, the preview of next week’s episode has left a bunch of people wondering about who gets the boot from the show. Can you tell me, for sure, that Jesse Taylor is going to be fighting in the finale?
TC: (Pause) It’s taken me about… 10 years… to make it… to the UFC. So, I am not going to risk that for your web site! (Laughs) So no, I cannot tell you… anything… nothing… but good question though.
PB: I didn’t think so, but I do what I can. So, you got to spend a lot of time with Forrest and Rampage during the taping of the show, and you got to know them and train with them a little bit. Now that their fight is right around the corner, what are your thoughts on the fight, and how do you see it finishing?
TC: Well I’m actually out in Vegas, training with Forrest and he’s helping me, and I’m… his training dummy. He just beats on me and throws me around all day. Obviously that helps me for my fight too. I’d be remised if I didn’t say that I was somewhat biased toward Forrest in this fight. He’s a personal friend and my training partner, so I definitely want the best for him. This fight is definitely the case of an athlete versus a hard worker. Forrest and I are a lot alike. He works really really hard. He’s not the greatest athlete, or he’s not this super-genetic freak, he’s just in the gym all the time training and training and training. It’s very similar to my style. For me, I have to believe that that style can win, that that style can be triumphant. So, of course I’m going with Forrest.
I have trained with Rampage in the past, though. Far before The Ultimate Fighter. This is back when Rampage was first starting his career, and I was living in southern California. The both of us trained together at Team Punishment, and he was an amazing athlete and an amazing fighter then. He has only gotten a whole lot better since.
So who’s going to win this fight? That’s a hard call. These fighters are two completely opposite sides of the spectrum. I think the later the fight goes, the better Forrest has a chance to win, with his mental preparation and endurance. Like we saw in the Chuck Liddell fight though, we always know that Rampage can finish you off quick. I think it’s going to be a great fight, but I’m pulling for Forrest, for sure.
PB: Are you planning on making the move to Vegas for good, or is it going to be just for this fight?
TC: I don’t think I’m making the move to Vegas just yet. My wife and I have not completely decided. I love Louisiana and I love back home where I’m at. There are some great fighters down there: Alan Belcher, Rich Clementi, Kyle Bradley. I don’t think that I necessarily need to be in Vegas to be competitive. It is up in the air though, so we’ll see.
PB: Did you buy Matt Riddle the XBOX?
TC: Yeah, of course I bought Riddle the XBOX. I mailed it to him down in Arizona where he’s training now. He loves it and plays it a lot, I’m sure.