Even though UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione has five wins inside the Octagon he’s still as green as countless fighters still attempting to establish themselves on the regional scene against lesser opposition and minus the pressure of the UFC’s spotlight. One of the rare individuals to have made his professional debut inside the Octagon thanks to a stint on TUF, Mitrione doesn’t mind the accelerated learning curve he’s been dealt even if he hasn’t always been prepared based on his relative inexperience as a Mixed Martial Artist.
One of those lessons occurred his last outing where he took on Cheick Kongo. While many expected a stand-up war the fight was far from that with the Frenchman opting to clinch against the cage and remain elusive instead of engaging. In the end Mitrione lost a decision, the only defeat of his career.
Now Mitrione is ready to mix it up again, having healed from a few nagging injuries, and already has an opponent. The 5-1 “Meathead” spoke about what he gained from the stumble against Kongo as well as his mindset entering his next match-up while joining The MMA Hour as a guest.
“I didn’t know how to engage somebody that didn’t want to engage, without making myself vulnerable and over-committing to something,” explained Mitrione when asked about his loss to Kongo. “So that’s something that Chris Lytle and I went back to the drawing board, and he taught me how to do that, and I think that really made a pretty substantial difference. I feel much more confident. If I ever have a fight like that again, I’ll be able to handle that and address it pretty aggressively.”
“The loss, it sucked. I still feel like I didn’t get beaten at all in that fight, I just feel like I lost it, via decision,” the testy 33-year old continued on the topic, clearly still bothered by the result.
One subject he was far more positive about pertained to his next outing inside the infamous eight-sided cage. Though Mitrione wouldn’t reveal who he’d be fighting he did make it clear he’s excited and expects MMA fans to feel the same way once it becomes official.
“I cannot wait. Cannot wait! It’s a fight I’ve wanted for a long time,” an animated Mitrione exclaimed. “I think it’s a great match-up. I think the fans will really be happy with it.”
With many of the roster’s heavyweights already booked for action on upcoming cards, most notably at UFC 146, remaining possibilities for Mitrione seem slim but could be boosted by the addition of a Strikeforce heavyweight.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC