Many fans would identify Vladimir Matyushenko as a staple in the sport of mixed martial arts. The forty-year-old Belarusian has been in the sport for over a decade and fought some of the most notable fighters it can offer. But make no mistake, Matyushenko claims he is far from done and is eyeing his next bout. Speaking with MMAFA.tv from his ‘VMAT’ gym in El Segundo, Matyushenko shared his plans.
“Nothing is official and I would like to fight before Summer, but I want to fight the winner of Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Noguiera. It is a common sense fight for me. Both of those losses still bug me. It would be a way to redeem myself and it would be a great fight for Tito or Noguiera.”
It would appear that redemption is big motivator for Matyushenko, who lost at the hands of up-and-comer Jon Jones 6 months ago and went on score a stoppage win over Alexandre Ferreira only three months later. The stoppage win would be the first for Matyushenko in five years.
“I didn’t get hurt in the Jones fight. Well, my ego got hurt I guess [laughs]. But that was good for me, and I was healthy enough that when the UFC called me up shortly after I immediately took the fight against Ferreira. I never like walking around with a loss on my shoulders.”
Being a veteran of the sport, Matyushenko has seen his fair share of paradigm shifts. Yet Matyushenko claims the rise of younger fighters throughout the years wouldn’t have been possible without the groundwork laid down by him and his contemporaries.
“There are plenty of new guys coming up like Bader and Jones and they deserve a chance at the spotlight. But older guys like Randy Couture and I have proven that we’ve still got it. The new guys, like Jon Jones, have learned from us. I think Jones saw so much of my tape and what I do to people and he did it to me.”
With UFC 126 taking place tomorrow, Matyushenko offered his prediction for the main event:
“Anderson against Vitor is a very interesting fight. It depends on what state of mind the fighters are in. Lately, Vitor Belfort has been very good and has had some exciting wins. Anderson Silva is looking kind of lazy. Maybe he has burned out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Belfort takes it.”
Matyushenko also offered a prediction for a light heavyweight tilt between Jon Jones and Ryan Bader.
“I think Jon Jones will take him. I think he’s going to play the same game he always has. He’s going to be explosive, unpredictable… He is unpredictable for the guys he faces but he knows what he’s doing. I’d like to learn his game a little bit. I know he’s watching a lot of tape on other fighters and studies them. I’ll put my money on Jon Jones.”
When it came to the co-main event between Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin, Matyushenko insisted it was in his best interest to keep mum.
“No comment there. For you media guys it is easy to make predictions whenever you want because you don’t have to fight them after! I don’t want to look like I’m saying bad things about them, ‘You’re this and you’re that,’ then have them trying to beat me up!”