Tim Means to UFC 189 opponent Matt Brown: ‘Bust me up and I’ll bust you up’

Tim Means (R) is a fan of the rough and tumble scraps, and he plans on finding one at UFC 189.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Tim Means sat down in a ballroom inside the MGM Grand Thursday to talk with members of the media assembled to cover this weekend’s UFC 189 and TUF Finale cards in Las Vegas. All around him were other fighters, some in his welterweight class.

His UFC 189 opponent, Matt Brown, sat directly across from him, about 25 feet away. With Brown in his sight line, and with more than a glance up directly at "The Immortal," Means let FOX Sports know what was on his mind, two days from fighting.

"I look around this room, see a lot of welterweights and I see number signs above all their heads," he said.

"I look across the room and I see a money sign over Matt Brown’s head. He’s a bonus fighter. He isn’t going to grab onto my leg for five rounds. He goes for the kill, he’s a bonus fighter and that’s the type of fighter I want to fight."

Indeed, both Brown and Means are exciting, ultra-skilled, blood and guts fighters. Neither ever seems to take a step backwards during a fight.

Means let it be known that he is looking forward to a violent encounter with Brown. "But me up, and I’ll bust you up," he said, of the type of fight he wants and expects with his opponent.

A win, and a performance bonus will mean more bills paid for Means. "Making money is 100 percent of my motivation," he explained.

"Feeding my nephews, taking care of my family, putting food on the table, having something to save – that’s why I do this."

Means has lived the life of a man three times his age, and has risen from the ashes of adversity, addiction and imprisonment to become one of the best MMA athletes in the world. Years ago, after getting out of prison, he made the decision to go for broke and make MMA his career.

It’s been a struggle, and it certainly is a big part of why he fights so often. Saturday against Brown will make 10 fights since 2013 for Mean).

"I was digging ditches after I got out of prison, spending all day out in the sun, then going to the gym. It was hard. I decided that if I wanted to make a go of fighting, I needed to try and do it full-time," he remembered.

"So, I left my job, got some local sponsors together – $100 here, $50 there – and started concentrating on fighting. That was in 2010."

Though Means is a prizefighter, his motivation in the UFC Octagon will also be more primal on fight night. Means is already a hot fighter, having won his last four.

A win over Brown would propel him into the welterweight division’s top-five, and certainly be the highest profile victory of his career thus far. When the cage door shuts on him and Brown Saturday night, Tim will simply be looking to beat up the guy with the big reputation.

"He’s definitely the biggest name I’ve fought," Means conceded.

"It takes me back to my prison days. You see the guy come in with a reputation, a name, and you go right up to him and take him on."

In order to beat an opponent that Means acknowledges is similar to him in some ways, "The Dirty Bird" is relying on feeling good at his recently adopted weight of 170 pounds.

The 6’2 fighter said that he no longer has to starve and hurt himself in order to make 155 pounds, and it has helped him both physically and mentally.

"I’m going to have a calorie and energy advantage," he laughed when we asked him what his biggest advantage over Brown might be.

"People told me not to go up to welterweight, telling me that I wouldn’t be big enough. But having energy and being more healthy more than makes for it. It also gives me confidence. When I used to cut to 155 pounds, I’d walk to the cage with heartburn because my body was so messed up from cutting weight. Now, I’m eating, staying hydrated, and I know I have what it takes inside me, once I’m fighting, to go hard for the entire fight. I was running on fumes for a long time in the cage, and I did alright for running on fumes, at times, but this is the right decision."