MMAFighting.com has revealed that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia will be trying his hand at the legitimate pro-wrestling circuit in Japan. Sylvia is expected to make his pro-wrestling debut before the end of this month and could compete against Bob Sapp, Josh Barnett or Bobby Lashley as all three men are rumored to be appearing on the same card. The exact promotion, time and place have not yet been revealed.
Sylvia posted to his Twitter last Friday an indication of his upcoming wrestling experience. He wrote, “O ya japan in 2 weeks pro wrestling.”
Sylvia was twice the UFC Heavyweight Champion, having won the belt from Ricco Rodriguez in 2003 but losing it after testing positive for steroids after his first title defense over Gan McGee. Sylvia would famously attempt to win his belt back by taking on Frank Mir in his return fight only to have his arm snapped in the first round. He would recapture the belt from Andrei Arlovski in 2006 and would hold onto the strap through two successful title defenses, over Arlovski and Jeff Monson. Sylvia would fall victim in his next fight to a fresh-out-of-retirement Randy Couture in an epic five round fight that signaled the return of “The Natural.”
Sylvia would go 1-1 from there, defeating Brandon Vera but losing by submission to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a fight for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. He would leave the UFC after his loss to Nogueira looking for a more lax contract and better paydays; what he found were first round losses to Fedor Emelianenko and aging professional boxer Ray Mercer. The shocking loss to Mercer will likely forever tarnish Sylvia’s reputation but he has bounced back with wins over Jason Riley, Mariusz Pudzianowski and Paul Buentello.