by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
As Matt Lindland prepares for the November 2nd IFL show in Portland, Oregon, he is still as busy as ever. He has seminars by night and TV interviews by day, but he said his team, the ‘Portland Wolfpack,’ is geared up and ready to go.
Matt said, “I feel great about our chances in the [semi] finals. Bas Rutten’s team is very good, they have a lot of talented fighters on there, but I think we match up well and we’re more prepared than ever.”
Talent wise Matt said, “The match ups are phenomenal. There’s nobody that’s got a walk-through fight.”
Since Thursday night’s IFL show is being held in Portland, it seems as though the Wolfpack has something of a ‘home-field advantage.’ Does Lindland agree?
“Yeah, I think that’s a huge benefit. We’ve got a lot of advantages going into this fight; we’re fighting in our hometown, the guys didn’t have to travel, they didn’t have to acclimate to another time, another town. You know, they sleep in their own beds, they train in their own gym…these guys were already a team before we started the IFL up, and there are a lot of advantages going into this round,” Lindland said.
Even as the ‘home team,’ though, Matt knows that his team is going to be – pardon the pun – ‘in a fight’ with the suffocating experience of Rutten’s Anacondas. Lindland has confidence, though, that when Thursday night’s fights are in the books and the Coliseum ceases to echo with cheers and chants from Portland’s finest, that it will be the Wolfpack that is headed to the IFL finals.
“Oh yeah, that’s our plan for sure. Each guy going in and executing his fight properly and the wins are going to take care of themselves. You know, I can see this being a very close match up…I can see each fight being close and us winning all five matches. It could go either way,” Lindland said.
If the success of Sportfight is any type of indicating factor, then Portland’s ‘Rose Quarter Memorial Coliseum’ will be full of knowledgeable and enthusiastic MMA fans.
Matt said, “Yeah, we’ve done a great job up here with Sportfight, building a fan-base in the Northwest…we’ve got a very strong fan-base up here. The commission is fairly easy to work with, and I have all the connections from doing the shows up here for years…it’s pretty easy to put a show together in this town.”
As we all know, Matt has a bit more going on than simply coaching in the IFL, though. As the #1 ranked middleweight on MMAWeekly.com, Matt is probably the hottest free-agent out there right now…and don’t expect him to be signing a five-fight deal with any organization anytime in the near future.
Matt said of his future fight plans…
“There’s a lot on the horizon…I’m going to be the most active free agent out there. I’m not going to sign exclusive deals with any one organization, I just think that’s a bad move right now for any fighter that wants to move his career ahead. I think you’ve got to have the flexibility to be able to fight in different organizations, and any organization that wants to lock you down for multiple agreements is only looking out for their best interests, and as a fighter you’ve got to look for your own best interests. You’ve got to be able to fight where the fights are. I’ll fight anybody and I’ll fight in any organization that doesn’t want to force somebody to sign long-term contracts.”
The one organization that Matt may well be referring to is the UFC, of whom Matt said, “We’ve been in contact,” but, as many fans know, Matt has had his difficulties with the UFC management in the past. Lindland seems to be taking things with the UFC slowly…
Lindland said, “Yes, we did talk about the possibility of me fighting for them as well, and right now it’s not looking like that’s going to come to fruition, but it’s something that I’m definitely interested in exploring in the future months, or maybe even next year, who knows?”
One thing that isn’t so capricious in Lindland’s life is that he seems to be quite content with things the way they are now…
“Things couldn’t be better. I’m happy…I live a very blessed life,” Lindland said.