Motivation to continue fighting following back-to-back losses for the first time in his 16-year career is not difficult for former UFC light heavyweight title contender Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko to find.
It’s those very losses that drive him to continue competing.
“That’s the reason I’m still fighting; I want to turn things around,” he said. “I don’t want to finish my career losing two fights. I just want to show the fans and my team that I’m capable of kicking some butt.”
Matyushenko doesn’t think a major overhaul is needed to keep going, but just little fixes here and there can remedy the situation.
“The last couple of fights they were honest mistakes, technical mistakes, but a fight is a fight and they go fast, so what are you going to do?” he commented. “I’m just going to work more and learn more and train myself so things become automatic. I know a lot of things, but sometimes it’s too late and reactions are too slow.”
Matyushenko (26-7) looks to pick up his first win in nearly two years when he makes his Bellator debut on Friday in Temecula, Calif., against fellow UFC veteran Houston Alexander (15-9).
“I think he’s an impressive fighter. He’s a very good opponent who has some knockouts on his record, but he’s been knocked out too, so he’s vulnerable there,” said Matyushenko of Alexander. “I’m not afraid to stand up, that’s for sure, but I’ll try to utilize my wrestling as much for sure, too.”
Despite all he’s accomplished in his career, Matyushenko doesn’t feel like the time to retire is at hand just yet.
He told MMAWeekly.com that he wants to right the ship on Friday night and after that keep going for as long as he can because retired life doesn’t suit him well.
“For this fight, number one, I want to win, because after those losses I can’t sleep right. So if I win that’s a cure for the sickness,” said Matyushenko. “Also, I’m a student of the game, I’m still learning a lot and it’s becoming such a big sport, it’s great to be part of it.
“I’m not ready to give in yet. I tried a couple times, but I get too bored and I start training again. It’s something I’ve been doing so long; it’s a part of me, I guess.”