On the Rise: Matt Dwyer Continues to Make Noise With Recent Win Over UFC Vet DaMarques Johnson
By Kelsey Mowatt
Observers of Canadian MMA know that Toshido MMA has a reputation for producing notable talent, including the UFC’s Rory MacDonald, and Matt Dwyer is the latest that’s making an impact for the Kelowna gym.
Recently, the 24 year-old Dwyer scored a second round, stoppage win over UFC vet DaMarques Johnson while competing for Battlefield Fight League. The promotion’s welterweight champ took several hard shots from Johnson early on, but came back to stop the fighter with ground-and-pound strikes.
“Yeah, it was an awesome fight,” Dwyer relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “It was definitely one of those fights that I think every fighter wants to be a part of. Down to the nitty, gritty, there’s blood, there’s sweat, it’s just a total grind and a battle of the wills who wants it more. It was a fight that I was definitely happy to be a part of.”
With the victory, Dwyer extended his winning streak to five and his overall record to 7-1. It was also the second time the welterweight had defeated a former UFC competitor, as in January, Dwyer scored a TKO win over Shonie Carter at BFL 27.
“It was a pretty epic fight,” Dwyer furthered. “Originally the fight was supposed to be for a 175 pounds catch-weight, for a non-title fight, because I guess DaMarques figured he wasn’t going to be able to make 170. Turns out he wasn’t able to make 175 either, so he was a bit bigger than me. He came in I think it was at 184…
“The guy did try cutting weight, but I guess his body just didn’t want to sweat anymore,” added Dwyer. “He looked pretty drained at the weigh-ins, even for a guy that came in as heavy as he did so, but we were ready to go the distance and it showed.”
And how hurt was the Kelowna fighter from Johnson’s early assault?
“I definitely ate some heavy shots there,” said Dwyer. “Usually when I got hit I was throwing my kicks; I had my hands down when I was throwing my kicks, so watching the fight, that’s definitely something now that I’ll be staying extra focused on, making sure that I do properly…I was definitely getting pretty rocked. I haven’t got hit that hard before, but I kept my composure, kept my eyes open.”
“Second round I could see him fade away, and that takedown I got was a pretty easy one to get,” added Dwyer, while discussing the final minutes of the fight. “When you’re on top of somebody it’s easier than being on the bottom, so I was just picking away on him from there.”
After beginning his martial arts journey several years ago in kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Dwyer eventually made his way to Toshido MMA. The gym is also home to fighters like TUF 16 vet Mike Hill, and newly signed UFC bantamweight Sarah Moras, and is led by head coach David Lea.
“The way we train is pretty barbaric at times right, so, we do a lot of things a normal person wouldn’t want to put themselves through,” said Dwyer. “That gives you way more confidence going into fights.”
It will be interesting to see what comes next for Dwyer, considering his recent wins over UFC vets, and his ongoing reign as BFL champ.
“Body feels awesome, just going to stick with it and don’t lose any gains,” Dwyer noted, when asked about his aspirations for 2014. “It’s looking like there’s going to be an August card, I’m not sure where it’s going to be for Battlefield, and I’m not sure who it’s going to be against.”