It’s been over 16 years since Tim Smith made his professional debut, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Calgary, Alta.’s Smith (16-12) will square off with Nick Hrabec (8-5) in the Unified MMA 49 co-main event in Edmonton, Alta. on Saturday night.
Not only is he co-headlining a card in Canada’s top promotion at 39 years old, he’s also doing so on UFC Fight Pass, a platform and position he still feels he belongs in.
“It’s a big opportunity. It’s a big stage for us to showcase our skills. But I truly believe that’s where I belong if I’m fighting on a Unified card. I think I should be in the co-main, the main or the one below it for sure,” said Smith in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’ve headlined many Unified cards in the past and I’m in way better shape and way more skilled than I was back then. The team I have behind me now, my game just keeps on upping, and I’m getting better and better. I know I’m an older guy in the game now, but my game keeps improving, I’m putting in work with a bunch of young up-and-comers who are all going places in this sport and we’re all just working as a team and we’re all just getting better.”
Smith was last in action at Unified MMA 44 where he picked up his first win since 2013, a unanimous decision over Curtis Demarce in what was the fight of the year for Canadian MMA.
Not only did he find his way back into the the win column, Smith said he also proved a lot to himself that night.
“It was a huge win for me. I had a lot to prove to myself, that I was still a top dog in Unified and on the Canada MMA scene. It just proved that all the work I’ve been putting in is paying off. Working with Jake Peacock at Dunamis, with Randy Chung at Kodokan BJJ, I do my conditioning year-round with Kenny Dusseault, my diet with my sports nutritionist, coach TJW, and I did a lot of work with Josh Hill from Cerebral Champion, my mental performance coach and Justin Basra for wrestling. I had a lot of confidence going into that fight, I had a lot to prove and I was coming out of retirement for that fight to have one more go to show I still had it,” said Smith.
“Coming off a big win like that, Curtis is a vet who’s tough as hell, it was a super hard fight, it went the distance and my cardio and conditioning was great. My weight cut was good, everything was on point. It just gave me a lot of momentum to keep this ball rolling, keep doing what I’m doing, keep working with this amazing team I have behind me. My main goal now is to get a belt back and show I’m still a top dog at Unified.”
On record, this will be professional bout number 29 for Smith, a career that dates all the way back to 2006.
Smith boasts more than double the amount of fights Hrabec has under his belt, and has also shared the cage with a large number of tough opponents. Smith feels his experience, both overall and against tougher competition, will be a big factor on Saturday night.
“I’ve been in there with the best the country has to offer, and experience is always a huge benefactor. This is going to be my thirty-second pro fight. Nick’s still a dangerous fighter, he’s got knockout power, he’s got amazing range, he’s got wicked standup. He poses a lot of dangers, but I truly believe I’m just going to be too much for him to handle,” said Smith.
“He’s definitely taking a step up, respect to him for taking this fight. He deserves this spot, he deserves to have a step up in level of competition to see where he’s at, but it’s going to be a bad night for him, that’s for sure.”
Not only has Smith been winning fights inside the cage for over a decade, he’s also won some big battles outside the cage throughout his life, including overcoming a serious drug addiction.
While stepping inside the cage is always dangerous, Smith said what he’s went through and overcome outside the cage provides him with motivation and comfort whenever he’s in the cage in the present day.
“Being inside the cage is always a dangerous place to be, but, for me, that’s my happy place. The stuff that I’ve been through, overcoming addiction and stuff like that, I always think back to that when I’m backstage and it just gives me an immense feeling of gratitude for having a second chance in life, being able to still compete at this level at my age, and the places I could’ve been if I didn’t change my life around,” said Smith.
“It definitely motivates me and inspires me and gives me that extra drive when I’m in there. Knowing where I could be and knowing where I am now, I feel like I have a lot to prove to myself, a lot to prove to my fans, all the people who support me. So many people believe in me, and for the longest time I didn’t believe in myself. Now, I have that self belief and it’s so powerful. I just can’t wait to get in there and explode and blow the roof off that place.”
“All my family, friends, everyone who’s supported me, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Dunamis Kickboxing, Kodokan BJJ, Dusseault Strength and Conditioning, coach TJW, Josh Hill at Cerebral Champion, JPB Inc., Justin Basra and the Gold’s Gym fight team.” Follow Smith on social media: INSTAGRAM