by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
As one of the busiest guys in MMA, Matt Lindland is passionate about the growing sport and continues to be one of most competitive and respected fighters today. Last season in the IFL, “The Law” coached his debuting Portland Wolfpack into the team finals. Although the Wolfpack fell short against the Quad City Silverbacks, they proved themselves to be one of the most formidable teams in the league and are considered a favorite to win this year’s championship.
Tonight, Lindland returns to face former UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Newton in the headlining superfight of the Houston, Texas IFL show. “He’s tough on top, he’s a good ground guy, and he’s explosive. He’s a very strong guy, especially since he’s walking around 215 [pounds]. I like getting in there and knocking peoples’ heads around. He’s as good as anybody…,” commented the Team Quest co-founder about Newton. Currently, Lindland is contracted with the IFL on an individual fight basis. The former UFC title contender has committed to two more fights, including his upcoming match with Carlos Newton.
In early January, Pride Welterweight Champion and Team Quest teammate Dan Henderson was named as a future coach in the IFL. “I kind of knew that was coming. I’m excited to see Dan have a team and being involved with the IFL. I think it’s a great opportunity for him,” stated the five time U.S. Wrestling Champion. “Dan and I have competed against each other in wrestling before. I think it’ll be fun to get our guys out there and test them against one another.”
Between coaching his IFL team, assisting with Team Quest, and taking care of his farm, Matt Lindland keeps a hectic schedule. “I like staying busy,” revealed the Portland native. “You don’t have to sit there and worry about fights; you got all this other stuff to think about. When it comes down to fight, you just get in there and compete.”
Recently, Lindland signed with BodogFIGHT to a three fight contract. All three fights are expected to take place at the heavyweight limit and his first opponent will be Fedor Emelianenko, universally recognized as the best fighter in the world.
“They pushed me to fight Fedor Emelianenko. I said absolutely, I would love to take that fight. It’s a great opportunity to test yourself against the best guy in the world, regardless of weight class,” said Matt enthusiastically. “Everyone wants to be the best in their weight class; this is an opportunity to be the best in the world. They want me at heavyweight and I think it’s a great opportunity to prove myself and see what kind of fighter I am. I love competing against the best guys. I’ve never been one to pick opponents.”
Matt Lindland and newly crowned UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva are commonly considered the two top middleweight fighters in the world. Lindland is ranked as the #1 middleweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings, and Silva is the #2 middleweight.
Lindland and Silva were originally scheduled to face each other back at Cage Rage 16. Unfortunately for fans, the fight never materialized and Lindland went on to face Mike Van Arsdale at Raze MMA – Fight Night. “I was tentatively scheduled to fight Anderson Silva. The agreement I had with Cage Rage was I would take the fight at the money they offered me. If I had a better offer, they had the opportunity to match that offer or they had to release me and let me go fight another fight,” explained Lindland. “I got paid twice as much money to go beat up [Mike] Van Arsdale.”
“I’m in this business to make a living; I’m not looking for titles and rankings,” added the UFC veteran. “Those things help you make money but the bottom line is I want to get paid.”
Lindland had a successful career in the UFC, sporting a 9-3 record in the octagon with notable wins over Phil Baroni, Pat Miletich, Ivan Salaverry, and Travis Lutter. After his win over Joe Doerksen at UFC 54, the Team Quest fighter seemed to be next in line for a title shot. However, his second opportunity at a championship belt fell short when he was let go by the organization after an infraction of the sponsorship terms in his contract. Lindland has since moved forward with his career, fighting in multiple organizations and becoming the coach of the IFL’s first Portland-based team.
“I don’t think I need the UFC, I think they need me in that division. They want to have the best guys in the organization but they don’t have the best talent out there. They don’t have the best heavyweight; they don’t have the best middleweight. When I was a free agent, I could fight anywhere and they didn’t want to pick me up. Now I’ve signed to three fights with Bodog so they’re going to have to wait a little while.”
Matt Lindland is a busy man. With so many challenges and opportunities on the horizon, “The Law” isn’t looking past his upcoming fight with Carlos Newton. “I’m going to put on an exciting show for the fans on Friday night.”