For many athletes, 40 is the mark that ends a lot of careers in a huge number of sports, but Matyushenko doesn’t think about his age as much as he reacts to how his body is feeling.
Last year his body suffered injuries that made him miss all of 2012, but it had nothing to do with not recovering fast enough or age catching up to him. It was just a stark reminder that training smart as opposed to training hard is the way to go at this stage of the game.
“It’s been getting pretty tough and I have to watch what I do, I can’t just train as hard as I used to, balls off, and just do what I have to do to be smarter and not necessarily harder. Staying away from injuries is the most important thing right now. I’m happy I’m back,” Matyushenko told MMAWeekly.com.
It’s hard to ignore that with more than 30 fights on his resume, a successful wrestling career, and a gym to run in California, Matyushenko doesn’t have much left to prove inside the cage, but he’s still loving life everyday with training and getting ready for fights.
Until that passion is gone, don’t expect Vladdy Matyushenko to go anywhere.
“No, it’s gradually going towards (retirement) maybe but right now MMA is on a total, different level than it was before. So before when I was young and bold and whatever, I didn’t have that experience, I didn’t have those guys around me. Right now it’s a totally different feel, L.A. is totally full of great guys to learn from, and at 42 I’m still learning and that’s interesting to do,” said Matyushenko.
“That’s one of the main things that keeps pushing me forward just learning new things, and just the fun of it. As soon as you lose that it’s over. It’s a pretty hard hobby to have.”
Over his last four fights, Matyushenko has bounced back and forth between wins and losses, and he understands better than most that putting together a big streak in the UFC is difficult with the level of talent competing right now.
Matyushenko is always looking to improve so when he thinks he’s found a weakness, he trains it and trains it some more until he fixes whatever was wrong.
Now as he heads into his next bout at UFC on Fox 6 against former Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader, he’s confident he’s put the right combination together to come away with a victory.
“Sometimes losses are going to happen, and sometimes injuries are going to happen. I have inner goals to achieve, I’ve been working on my striking a lot, because when I lost to (Alexander) Gustafsson last time, and he has a great advantage because of his reach, you could watch the video, I jab him, he jabs me, but those few inches did the job,” Matyushenko stated.
“With Bader, things are pretty even and hopefully it’s going to be a good fight, and I can utilize my skills I’ve been learning.”