Matt Grice on UFC on FX3 Opponent: “I Don’t Care What Leonard (Garcia) Does, As Long As I Stay Focused…”
By Michael Hatamoto
UFC fighter Matt Grice is looking forward to building momentum in the UFC featherweight division, after a long layoff following a TKO loss last year.
Grice will step into the cage opposite of Leonard Garcia, an experienced former lightweight fighter turned featherweight striker interested in standing and banging it out.
Garcia is a heavy-handed brawler looking to please fans and simply knock out or TKO his opponents, which has gotten him into trouble in the past. Even if Garcia did work to control some of his reckless striking habits, Grice is going to be ready for whichever version of the Greg Jackson-trained fighter shows up.
“I don’t care what Leonard does, as long as I stay focused, and do what I plan to do, impose my game plan on him,” Grice recently told Full Contact Fighter. “We worked some specifics, but it was a typical training camp. Leonard comes forward, even if tired, and I’m prepared for 15 minutes. We worked some specifics, but it was still just a typical training camp.”
The University of Oklahoma wrestling product is looking forward to competing in his more natural weight class – he competed at 149 lbs. in wrestling – and has learned from his past mistakes, in both training camp and during fights.
“I’m doing great now, and got a nutritionist for this fight camp. My diet and training camp were both great. I never went to the gym feeling tired or sluggish like previous camps.”
Grice last saw action when he lost via TKO to Ricardo Lamas at UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry in June 2011, and has been inactive for almost 12 months. The Oklahoma native said nothing is physically wrong with him, and he now feels mentally rested and prepared to be more active in MMA.
“I’m not worried about ring rust; I train hard all the time, and went to a couple of different places to train, including Top Notch Fitness with Lamas, Valko BJJ in Chicago and FIT NHB with Tom Vaughn in Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
Some fighters prefer to stay at home with their individual camp, flying in select training partners to better prepare for upcoming opponents. However, Grice enjoyed the opportunity to travel to other camps and experience different workout and training regiments, including his time spent with Lamas after their previous fight against one another.
“I think it’s beneficial, for sure, you get a different look, different style, different people… you train with the same guys all the time and you get stagnant, but the blood gets pumping when training with someone new.”
Grice still works full-time as a police officer for the Oklahoma City Police Department, and says he’s now better able to juggle both positions.
“I’m still a full-time police officer. I work 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., then head to strength and conditioning, and go home to sleep. I’m back up in the evening to spar, or do MMA, boxing, BJJ, or wrestling. I work eight days on and have six days off. I get time to focus on training and increasing my workload.”
However, the transition to handle MMA training camps, his police officer job, and family obligations took a lot of work. “Just fighting, you can over train – and have too much free time to get into trouble. This way, I rest when I can, go to work, rest, and go right back to training.”
“I work, have a wife, two kids and run my own gym. It took me a while to figure out the process to incorporate it all. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
A busy training schedule, full-time job and family obligations keep him busy, but Grice hopes a victory over Garcia will help him continue up the UFC featherweight rankings this Friday at UFC on FX 3.