Living Ind

Fight like Crazy

Lafayette’s Tim Credeur seeks UFC glory, one gnarled knuckle at a time.

Tim Credeur

Photo by Isabel LaSala

Meet Tim Credeur and it is hard to believe he makes a living fighting. Credeur comes off mellow, with a dry wit; and he’s sharp — holding two college degrees. Though making his living in the least passive way possible, he describes himself as a hippy.  
But, he can’t be a hippy. Outside of incense, tofu and saving the Earth, hippies aren’t motivated. The Lafayette native who also runs Gladiators Academy in Scott’s Anytime Fitness, is up early in the morning to flip tractor tires and push hay bales, putting in a 30- to 40-hour training week. Hippies are crazy about granola and Patchouli. Credeur’s nickname is Crazy because the intense and focused fighter had a habit of unintentionally breaking arms and separating shoulders. If he is a hippy, his hemp is pain; his folk music is mixed martial arts, his Woodstock is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, his drug is fight.  
And Credeur’s record rocks, the 6’4”, 185-pound lanky scrapper racking up 12 wins (eight through submission and four through knockout) with only two losses. Currently, he is undefeated in the UFC and on a three-win streak. Valued at more than a billion dollars by Forbes, UFC is the world’s preeminent MMA league. Wednesday, Sept. 16, Credeur looks to take a step towards becoming a UFC champion. Defeating Nate Quarry, one of the toughest opponents of his career, could earn him a shot at the middleweight title. Part of Fight Night 19, it airs free at 8 p.m., on Spike TV.  
“For me to beat a guy like this would definitely put me on a level to be a contender. Obviously as a fighter, that’s what I want to do,” says Credeur. “I don’t know all about this contender stuff, I just want to fight the best that I can.”
Growing up, Credeur marveled at the professional boxers making a living fighting. After relocating to New Orleans, he took martial arts classes. When he saw his instructor score a first round knockout in a kickboxing match, the 9-year-old decided he would become a professional fighter.  
Bucking the cliché of troubled youth turned focused fighter, Credeur paints his childhood as good. But, he mentions anger issues, frustration and struggles with attention deficit disorder. Fidgety at 32, Credeur still battles ADD. In 2008, he postponed a fight after discovering Nevada banned Adderall, common in ADD treatment, from competition.  
“I was the kind of kid that got into a fight once or twice and never got into a fight again,” laughs Credeur. “It seemed like once people figured out that you could fight you had to fight a lot less.”
At 17 — back in Lafayette attending Westminster Christian Academy — Credeur joined the Navy to train as a fighter in California. During his enlistment, Credeur trained on the Navy’s judo team and with Carlson Gracie (whose family pioneered MMA). His skills were impressive; a minute and a half is all it took to win his first fight — a $50 dollar purse contested on a tarp over a Tijuana bull fighting ring. He would also work with scores of fighters, including Tito Ortiz, one of the UFC’s biggest names.  
To get into the UFC, Credeur joined the league’s reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, where fighters competed for a six-figure contract. After his semi-finals loss, his opponent left the show and Credeur returned to the finals. Though he lost via decision, it landed him a three-year deal with UFC.  
Following the show, Credeur chose to remain in the local MMA scene. “I had always been the voice of ‘Louisiana doesn’t get its opportunities.’ For me to be at that level and up and leave ... I felt that was a slap in the face.”
To help local fighters, he opened Gladiators Academy. The gym offers a range of courses — kids’ judo to muay thai kickboxing, a lethal discipline. A crucible for aspiring fighters, Gladiators is key to Credeur’s staggering training regimen. Mornings spent strength training are followed by full days at the academy. Mentally, he prepares with hypnotherapy to achieve calm and concentration while fighting. The normally vicious program is cranked up as he prepares for what will be his biggest measuring stick. In preparation for the bout with Quarry, Credeur’s knuckles are mangled and red.  
“I may be the leader, but I’m only a figurehead; there are 15 or 20 fighters here who push me every day in the gym and if it wasn’t for these guys I could not have done it,” says Credeur. “I guess you get paid more if you win and all that, but I don’t really care. I fight ‘cause I love to fight and I want to challenge and push myself.”