Canadian Vet Matt MacGrath Couldn’t Pass on Chance to Tryout for “TUF Nations”
Elite 1 Champ Says Opponents “Know I’m There to Fight”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Matt MacGrath has had a successful 2013 campaign thus far, by adding the Elite 1 welterweight title to his resume, but the rugged vet is hoping to cap off the year by making it on “TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia.” Recently the UFC held tryouts for the upcoming show in Toronto, Ontario, and MacGrath headed south from Prince Edward Island to showcase his skills.
“It was kind of a big decision; the first person I talked to really was my wife, because six weeks away from home, with two small kids, it’s not that appealing to her.” MacGrath said during a recent appearance on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “I kind of had to clear things with the boss before I decided to head up.”
“One of the main reasons was because it’s my vision,” added MacGrath, who is not allowed to discuss how the tryouts went. “A two hour flight, it’s relatively close, and I have lots of people I know, my family in the Toronto area. Paul Abel, our coach, he opened an academy here, his former gym is in Toronto so I have a lot of teammates who train in between both gyms.”
Considering MacGrath has been competing since 2006, and has fought several UFC vets along the way, living in a house filled with fighters would certainly be an adjustment for the Judo Black Belt.
“I always said to my wife that it’s not a route I ever wanted to go, and to be honest with you, if I was on a season of TUF and some guy pissed on my bed like Chris Leben did, way back in one of the first seasons, I’m pretty sure I’d be sent home in a hurry.”
“I’m a pretty patient guy, but I just looked at it as an opportunity to get into the UFC,” added MacGrath, who has losses to UFC vets like Jonathan Goulet and Claude Patrick, but holds a unanimous decision win over Mark Holst. “As I get older those opportunities are getting less and less, so I want to capitalize on every opportunity I can get.”
While MacGrath has been a highly regarded fighter in Canadian MMA for some time, the welterweight has struggled to find bouts in the past, and has suffered setbacks as a result.
“I think coming from the East Coast it’s hard to get a lot of exposure and a lot fights, and I think for a long time it was very difficult. I went about a year and ten months without getting any fight offers or anything. Anything that came to the table I was kind of jumping at, and that’s where I’d end up taking a fight on ten days notice against a guy like Marcus Aurelio.”
“I took some big fights on short notice and maybe they weren’t always the best choices,” added MacGrath, who has won three straight fights. “It’s funny, because I think it kind of showed that in doing that, I’m ready to step up anytime and that I’m ready to fight too…win or lose, most of the guys I’ve stepped in the cage with know I’m there to fight.”