Recovering Vladimir Matyushenko Seeking Bouts with Tito Ortiz or “Lil” Nog
By Kelsey Mowatt
After abruptly knocking out Jason Brilz at UFC 129 in April, and now on the mend from an injury which forced his withdrawal from an August 6th bout with Alexander Gustafsson, Vladimir Matyushenko is looking to avenge two of his five previous losses. According to the 40 year-old-fighter, he’s ready to get back in the Octagon, and is hoping to do so as early as November.
“I’ll fight anybody,” Matyushenko (26-5) told FCF. “But I’d like to have rematches with either Tito Ortiz or “Lil” Nog (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira).”
Matyushenko faced Ortiz one decade ago at UFC 33 and lost by unanimous decision to the former light-heavyweight champ. If the Belarus native were to face Nogueira next it would be the third time the two veterans have fought. After Matyushenko scored a decision win over the Brazilian in 2002, Nogueira won by knockout in their 2009, Affliction promoted rematch.
“Lil” Nog would be perfect,” Matyushenko noted. “We’re one and one, and in my second fight with him I was injured. First time I beat him fair and square. We were both supposed to fight at UFC 133, but we both got injured, so time wise I think we match-up, so that would be nice.”
“I think the UFC is aware of that as my management has been talking to them,” Matyushenko added. “It’s up to Nogueira and his management.”
Gustafsson (12-1) proceeded to fight Matyushenko’s replacement Matt Hamill at UFC 133, and stopped the former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor in the second round to record his third consecutive win.
“Definitely,” said Matyushenko when asked if he would still be interested in facing the rising Swedish fighter. “He’s a really good striker, he’s got the distance, has long arms, and I think for a fighter like that you have to train a little more than just a couple of weeks. For Hamill, he didn’t really have time to prepare for a fighter like that.”
Before Matyushenko officially withdrew from the August 6th card, he was reportedly a candidate to replace the injured Phil Davis versus Rashad Evans, before ultimately the aforementioned Ortiz took his place.
“Everything happened at the same time,” said Matyushenko while discussing his injury. “I was training with the Dan Henderson camp, and my muscles, my but was still sore. I didn’t know how bad the injury was. They called me to ask about fighting Rashad and I said yes, got to a gas station and I couldn’t even get out of the car. It just got worse and worse.”
“It was a muscle injury,” Matyushenko added. “I pulled the muscle that was connected to my but and the groin. Anyone who has ever had this kind of injury knows that it’s one of the worst you can have. Nothing was torn, but it contracted all my muscles, I wasn’t able to walk for a couple of weeks.”
Since returning to the UFC in 2009, Matyushenko has now gone 4-1, with his only loss during that stretch coming against reigning light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. “The Janitor” has rebounded with two first round wins, by stopping Alexandre Ferreira last November and then knocking out the aforementioned Brilz.
“In the fight game, it’s kind of like life, it goes up and down,” said Matyushenko while discussing his recent success and what the future holds for the veteran. “I almost quit ten years ago, went back to the UFC, and then again five years later. You always have those thoughts in your head but there’s nothing like going in the cage and winning. It brings you up and right now after two wins I’m feeling pretty good about myself.”