Last weekend was a weekend of upsets at Who’s Number One. With teenaged brown belts collecting 2 of the belts, a blue belt beating Geo Martinez and Gabi Garcia getting dominated in her match, it may have been one of the most exciting tournaments in the history of the sport.
One standout that hasn’t been talked about much was Tim Spriggs. The long time competitor has had bright moments in his career, winning the ADCC Trials and No Gi Worlds in 2018 and the Spyder Invitational in 2019, but generally has fallen short of glory throughout his career as a professional grappler. With only 18 of his 66 career wins coming by submission, Spriggs was not the favorite to win the tournament by any far stretch of the imagination, especially considering his opposition included hyped opponents like Kaynan Duarte, Tex Johnson, Kyle Boehm, Giancarlo Bodoni and Mason Fowler, Spriggs had a tall order ahead of him especially considering that his prior 3 competitive outings were losses, 2 by submission.
I reached out to Spriggs about his monumental achievement to garner some insights into what made this time so drastically different.
“I’m a different animal. The old Tim Spriggs is gone. I’ve added more weapons to my arsenal, most of which weren’t seen at WNO. If Gordon decides to stop having circus matches with guys no one’s heard of, I’ll finish him.”
Interestingly Spriggs says he retired prior to Who’s Number One and came out of retirement specifically for the financial opportunity.
“I retired because I no longer wanted to be a professional grappler. It stopped being fun, there’s other things I want to try, and I feel like the industry seldom gives grapplers what they deserve. If Galvao and Gordon refuse to face me, I’ll remain retired. There’s no other matches that are interesting enough to sacrifice to prepare for.
I don’t have any other events lined up. I was retired before WNO and only did it for the opportunity to make all that money. I was perfectly fine with calling it a career. I’m at peace. Even more now that I’ve proved that I’m the best in the world. I’m not pressed about the sport. ”
As a fun fact: Spriggs has taken on the nickname “The Mush Master”, I asked him to explain this odd nickname
“This guy Kyle Bohem was talking **** about me before a match so I proceeded to mount him and mush his face with my hands for ten minutes. And then the MUSHMASTER was born.”
In the tournament, Spriggs submitted 2 out of 3 of his opponents on his way to victory, most impressively submitting the ADCC Champion Kaynan Duarte by heel hook. As mentioned earlier, Spriggs’ finishing rate is relatively low so I was interested in learning about the difference in this event over others
“My mindset was to kill or be killed. I had drilled that sequence thousands of times. It was second nature. When the opening presented itself I took it without thinking.”
After this major victory, Spriggs feels he has little left to accomplish…
“The WNO victory means I’m the best grappler in the WORLD. And I’ve got the Jiujitsu industry by the balls. I want a match with Gordon Ryan. And after him, Andre Galvao. I’m not interested in any other matches.”
As for Sprigg’s closing thoughts in the interview:
“I just want to say thank you to all my teammates who helped me prepare for WNO, especially my coach/brother Tye Ryan Murphy.”
Love him or hate him, Tim Spriggs put on an impressive performance. Will he be able to get a rematch with Gordon? Will he get that match with Galvao? Or will the “Mush Master” ride off into the sunset with his stunning victory?