by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Meathead is ready to knock some heads.
Matt Mitrione, who was referred to as “Meathead” by his coach, Rashad Evans, during the tenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show is ready to prove that if you’re a heavyweight in the UFC, and you decide to stand and trade with him, your night is going to come to an abrupt halt.
The former NFL player has been training non-stop since his win at “The Ultimate Fighter” finale show in December over Marcus Jones, splitting time at home training alongside UFC fighter Chris Lytle in Indiana, and at Duke Roufus’ academy in Wisconsin.
Mitrione admits that it’s the difficult sacrifice of being away from his family that makes it the toughest, but he also knows that to be the best you have to train with the best.
“Coming up here, Coach Duke just showed me the light how a big man can strike, and be more efficient, and effective, and patient,” said Mitrione when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio. “Who cares if you’re a Ferrari? Sometimes it’s good to be an 18-wheeler, and so Coach Duke showed me that, and when it’s good to be a Ferrari and when it’s good to be an 18-wheeler. It’s been phenomenal.”
Training with other UFC heavyweights like Pat Barry and Ben Rothwell, Mitrione has hit new levels with his striking and overall MMA game. He says that fans can expect a much better product from what they saw on the reality show. Mitrione admits that he had a one-track mind during the filming.
“The only thing I cared about on that show was beating Scott Junk’s ass,” he admitted. “From him throwing me under the bus and just doing me so dirty, all I cared about was just emotionally wrecking that dude. Once I beat him, I was drained.”
While the show definitely cast the Indiana based fighter in a certain light, he says once he was going, he might as well play the bad guy they made him out to be. Still, months removed from the show, Mitrione states he still talks to many of his former housemates on a regular basis and will continue to do so.
One aspect that wasn’t really shown much during “The Ultimate Fighter Season 10” was a relationship between Mitrione and the fighter he’ll face at UFC 113, Kimbo Slice. Mitrione says he and Kimbo were actually buddies during the show, and he hopes that they can be friends afterwards, but he has no problem knocking him out.
During the filming of the show, Mitrione even asked to fight Kimbo, but was denied and the former street fighter went on to battle eventual show champion Roy Nelson.
“I asked to fight Kimbo on the show and they wouldn’t let me do it, and then they gave me Marcus,” Mitrione stated.
When UFC matchmaker Joe Silva made the call to offer him the fight this time around, he couldn’t say yes fast enough.
Of course when looking at the match-up of Mitrione vs. Kimbo, there is undoubtedly a lot of power between the two heavyweights when standing up, but in his last fight out Slice showed off some new takedowns and ground game. Mitrione says don’t judge him that quickly if Kimbo does go for the takedown, and if it stays standing that’s even better.
“Everybody thinks I’ve got no ground game, and that Kimbo’s going to beat me on the ground,” Mitrione said. “Cool, put all the money you have on Kimbo, please! Please do it! Because everybody that bets on me will make a couple house payments off of it.
“If he wants to stand and bang with me, cool, I will take that paycheck.”
The biggest advantage that Mitrione believes he has over his opponent in this fight is that he won’t be blinded by the fact that he’s fighting Kimbo Slice. He won’t over think it, and he won’t let Kimbo’s bravado sink him like it did his last opponent.
“I’m not Houston Alexander, I did not lose this fight a month ago. I’ve won this fight 200 times in my mind, in 17 different ways,” said Mitrione. “I don’t care about anyone’s reputation. I’m not afraid of anybody. I’ve fought way too many people playing football, and played against way too many people that are way too big to be human beings, and I’ve done just fine against them.”
Mitrione will face off against Kimbo Slice on Saturday night in Montreal at UFC 113.