For Moriarty’s Tim Means, Saturday’s UFC fight in Las Vegas against Max Griffin will be the 51st time (as listed on tapology.com) he’s stepped into the cage as an amateur or professional MMA fighter. He’s 38
Why is he still doing it?
Tim Means is seen after a win over Thiago Alves after his mixed martial arts bout at UFC Fight Night, Saturday, December 7, 2019, in Washington. He fights again Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
He’s still good at it and he’s still getting paid. Though he’s coming off a loss, he had a three-fight winning streak before that.
And he kind of has this MMA thing figured out.
“I’m in a great gym (Albuquerque’s FIT-NHB) with a lot of young guys who put a target on my back and keep me ready,” Means (32-13-1 as a pro with one no contest) said in a phone interview from Las Vegas. “We’ve learned how to train and we’ve learned how to separate hard, intensive days and we’ve learned nutrition, hydration, sports science.
“I’ve got a lot of longevity out of this career and I haven’t taken too much of a beating … I’ve gotten smarter with this stuff, but let’s be real. I’m gonna win this fight because I’m better-looking than Max.”
There is this, though, as well. At 38, means is still making up for lost time.
And his mission as co-head wrestling coach at Moriarty High School with his wife, Brenda Gonzales Means, is less about winning matches (they want to do that, of course) than to help kids avoid the mistakes his young self made.
Means lost four years of his career (2005-09) because he was in and out of trouble.
“I was one of those guys that pointed and blamed, messed up and got things wrong,” he said. “I came back to the gym in 2009 to start over and fix burned bridges … taking ownership and figuring things out.
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“It’s helped me as a man, it’s helped me as an athlete, it’s helped me as a father.”
In Griffin (18-9), Means the athlete will face a fighter much like himself – a respected veteran welterweight seeking to come back from a loss in his most recent fight. Means lost in June to Kevin Holland by second-round submission (D’arce choke). Griffin lost in March to Neil Magny by split decision.
“He’s got a lot of heart, lot of movement, good cardio and he brings good power with his hands,” Means said of Griffin. “Lots of kicks. A guy that’s gonna be there until I get him out of there.”
The fighters have four opponents in common. Means is 2-2 against them, having beaten Mike Perry and Thiago Alves but lost to Magny and Alex Oliveira. Griffin beat Perry but lost to Magny, Oliveira and Alves.
Griffin, who in July 2021 defeated Carlos Condit in what proved to be the Albuquerquean’s last fight, is a moderate betting favorite.
After Saturday’s fight, win or lose, Means will come home to Moriarty and start coaching the Pintos – in wrestling and in life.
His parting message at the end of the interview:
“I just want to shoot a challenge out to the kids of Moriarty,” he said. “If you ain’t doing (another) sport, come out for wrestling. If you don’t want to wrestle, get in the band, go get into shop or welding.
“Get off your butts and do something, because life is worth the struggle. Go find something to do and let’s stop feeling sorry for yourselves and go get some stuff done.”