Vladdy Matyushenko has a bit of a grudge and he’s looking to settle it.
The often soft spoken Russian is silent no more about a couple of fighters that hold wins over him, and he’s looking towards a particular bout on March 26 to help unload that burden.
The main event of the upcoming UFC Fight Night in Seattle, Wash. features Antonio Rogerio Nogueira against Tito Ortiz in a light heavyweight battle, and Matyushenko is letting it be known that he wants to face the winner. Although from the sound of things, Matyushenko believes it’s Nogueira that he’d be facing.
“I can’t wait for the fight to see Tito get his ass kicked, I think that’s what’s going to happen,” Matyushenko told MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday. “You never know. I think he’s still in good shape. I can’t wait because I want to fight either of those guys. I want to fight both of them, but whoever wins I think will be a good match-up to fight me.
“I’d put money on (Nogueira), but it’s MMA. It’s fun to watch because you never know.”
Matyushenko has history with both fighters, inside and outside the UFC. The Russian born fighter stepped in on short noticed after an injury forced Vitor Belfort out of UFC 34, and Matyushenko took the chance and ended up losing a decision to Tito Ortiz in the main event on the card.
Meanwhile, Matyushenko has already had two fights against Nogueira. Matyushenko holds a win in 2002 over the Brazilian, and the pair rematched under the Affliction banner in 2009, with Nogueira coming out on top.
Unfortunately, Matyushenko went into the fight with a bum knee and while he takes nothing away from Nogueira in the win, he wants a chance to finish what they started almost 9 years ago.
“In my mind I still can beat them. I respect them both, but with Nogueira the last fight I had a serious injury before that and I think it was not a fair fight, and the fans want to see the real deal. Same with Tito, it was a short notice kind of deal and it was a long time ago, and a lot of fans keep asking me about it and I think it will be a good thing to happen,” Matyushenko stated.
After March 26, Matyushenko plans to once again call for the winner of the fight to meet him down the road, possibly at the UFC Rio event in Brazil. He spent time in the country over the holidays and says he would be honored to fight on that event, even against Brazilian Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
In the meantime, Matyushenko doesn’t plan on waiting around just to see who wins that fight. He wants to stay busy and looks to return to action in the first half of 2011.
“There’s a lot of guys in the 205lb division right now. Maybe Stephan Bonnar, I would like to fight him,” Matyushenko answered about who he’d like to fight next. “He’s kind of a veteran too and well known, but he’s a tough guy. I never turn away a fight, so whatever I’ve been offered I’ll fight, but that’s one that kind of interests me.”
Matyushenko’s manager, Nima Safapour from Alchemist Management, isn’t sure that Nogueira or Ortiz are up for the challenge, but he’s hopeful they’ll come around after March 26.
“First thing, Vladdy just wants to put on exciting fights for the fans. Vladdy has been calling out both guys ever since he got back to the UFC,” Safapour said. “It’s a fight they simply don’t want to take because they compromise their records doing so. But if they do step up and take the fight, it’s a bout the fans will praise them for, for years to come.”
Matyushenko is currently training in California while he waits for word from the UFC about his next fight, and he plans on watching the March 26 card with baited breath as well.