Maybe the third time is the charm for mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Tim Hague.
On Nov. 1, “The Thrashing Machine” made it official that he will return for his third stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Hague confirmed he signed a four-fight deal with the UFC last Monday evening.
Unlike the last time the UFC came knocking on Hague’s door, giving him only three weeks to prepare for a fight against Joey Beltran, he will now have almost three months of preparation time before his return to the octagon on Jan. 22, 2011.
“It was incredible getting the call this time, especially because I won’t have to take on a fight in three weeks’ time like last time,” exclaimed Hague last week.
Hague will take on six-foot-three Matt Mitrione in UFC: Fight for the Troops 2. Mitrione will enter the fight with a 3-0 MMA record.
The Michigan native appeared on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he won his first fight against Marcus Jones at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale.
His most recent wins came against Kimbo Slice, via knockout in UFC 113; and Beltran, to whom Hague’s last UFC loss came, in a unanimous decision at UFC 119.
Hague’s return to the UFC was due much in part to the domination he showed in his last two fights.
In two knockout wins, Hague defeated Zak Jensen in July and Travis Wiuff in early October.
Fighting for Aggression MMA out of Edmonton, Hague was able to prove that he deserved the opportunity for another UFC chance.
“Aggression MMA gave me a huge opportunity to fight for my local fans, and that was a big deal for me, but when I got the call from the UFC, I confirmed my contract within a couple of hours. You don’t want to ever turn down an opportunity from the UFC,” said Hague.
Appearing to be in the best shape of his fighting career after his devastating knockout of Wiuff, Hague plans to continue his intense cardiovascular training to be ready for Mitrione.
“When I show up I’m going to be in incredible shape. I know when I’m in shape I put up a heck of a fight for any person in the world,” asserted Hague.
The Boyle native expects the same from his opponent.
“Mitrione is an incredible athlete. He knows how to work hard and he’s going to show up in great shape, too.”
The two fighters don’t have any history in their fighting careers and don’t have too much in common other than past fights against Beltran, but Hague welcomes this and future fights to be huge challenges.
“This could be the fight of the night, so make sure you don’t miss it. Every fight is different and I expect a tough fight every time I enter the ring,” added Hague.
With more fighting experience under his belt than Mitrione, Hague hopes he can use it to his advantage come fight time.
“Mitrione hasn’t been training as long as I have, and I think I can be a little more technical than him in the fight,” noted Hague.
Other than continuing with his cardio training, Hague plans to improve his wrestling skills along with tweaking every aspect of his fighting skills to be fully prepared.
“I’m really pushing my wrestling and staying very technical. You’ve always got to show up in better shape and condition and sharpen your skills in every area, because that’s what everyone is doing these days,” explained Hague.
Hague’s UFC career has been rocky at best.
It began with an emotional debut win over Pat Barry in UFC 98 on May 23, 2009, but he followed it up with a record-fast knockout loss to Todd Duffee at UFC 102 on Aug. 29, 2009.
In his third UFC fight, the six-foot-four fighter lost a controversial match by majority decision to Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 109 on Feb. 6, 2010, resulting in his release from the UFC days later.
In April of 2010, Hague received a call from the UFC to fight in May. He took the fight with three weeks of preparation time, but was defeated by Beltran at UFC 113 and once again was released by the UFC.
This time around, Hague is planning to extend his UFC stay.
“Hopefully you’ll see me stick around and challenge for the world heavyweight championship,” he said.
“I just have to dig deep inside of myself and use the heart I know I have, and hopefully it will help me come out on top.”