Vladimir Matyushenko Hoping to Return in Fall, Believes Rematch With Tito Ortiz “Still a Possibility”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 2012 campaign has not featured a fight yet with Vladimir Matyushenko, according to the 15 year veteran, he intends to change that in the coming months. When “The Janitor” steps into the Octagon again it will mark the first time he has done so since UFC 141 last December, when he was stopped by rising light-heavyweight Alexander Gustaffson.
“I’ve been training, working on my gym, trying to relocate it, new website, and stuff like that, but I’m going to the Fighter’s Summit on July 6th,” Matyushenko relayed to Full Contact Fighter. “I’m going to be in Vegas for five days and I’m going to talk to Dana White and Joe Silva and see what’s next for me. Hopefully by the Fall I’m going to get something.”
“I think maybe one this year,” Matyushenko furthered. “I probably won’t know about it until July or August, and I’ll need a few months to prepare, so I’m looking for October, November, maybe September.”
Following the loss to Gustaffson, Matyushenko elected to take a break, despite the fact that the setback came after he recorded back-to-back, first round stoppage wins over Alexandre Ferreira and Jason Brilz.
“It’s nice to take time off,” said the decorated wrestler, who made his MMA debut in 1997. “It’s not the fight itself, but the preparation for the fight continues to get harder. I still train, but without the pressure of making weight, and hardcore sparring and stuff like that. Just been staying in shape and helping other fighters.”
“I still have four fights on my contract,” the 41 year-old Matyushenko added. “But I’m going to take it one by one. Obviously I’m not getting any younger, but I don’t want to finish my career on the loss I had in December. Hopefully I’ll win the next one and we’ll see from there.”
The only other man to defeat Matyushenko since he returned to the UFC in 2009, is reigning champion Jon Jones, who is just one of many top ranked fighters that the Belarus native has faced during his career.
“I trust the UFC and what they’ve been doing,” said Matyushenko, while discussing what might lie ahead in terms of the type of match-ups the promotion will offer. “They always do a pretty good job of matchmaking.”
Although Matyushenko added that generally speaking he’s “skeptical” about fighters who pick and choose their opponents, he did relay that there is one loss he is still hoping to avenge.
“Tito Ortiz would be good,” said Matyushenko, who lost to Ortiz by unanimous decision at UFC 33 in 2001. “He’s at that point in his career and I think it would be a good fight. I think a lot of fans would want to see that fight, so that would be good, but again, I don’t really want to pick and choose. I put it in the hands of the UFC. I think it’s almost cheating or chicken not to take fights. If someone’s willing to fight me I’ll fight.”
But what about the fact that Ortiz says he plans on retiring, after he fights Forrest Griffin for a third time at UFC 148 on July 7th?
“I think it’s still a possibility,” said Matyushenko. “In our case, it’s not just the will to fight but being able to as far as if he’s healthy, and if the timing is good, I think it’s very possible.”
“You never know, things may change,” the former IFL champ furthered. “I wouldn’t say that’s the beauty of MMA but it’s definitely the truth.”