Is Matt Mitrione Destined To Become UFC’s Heavyweight Version Of Dominick Cruz?


“I started off a little slower than I wanted to, but I’m pretty damn athletic man, second-most athletic heavyweight around,” said Matt Mitrione after his win over Tim Hague at UFC Fight For The Troops 2, shooting a sly sideways grin at training partner Pat Barry. “As a result, I need to make people fight in my game.”

Matt Mitrione at UFC 119

Matt Mitrione at UFC 119

That he did on Saturday night, stuffing Hague’s takedown attempts and working him with a solid jab. Mitrione dropped the Canadian midway through the first round of their fight with a straight left hand then finished him off with strikes for the TKO stoppage.

Can you really call a 2:39 stoppage a slow start?

Mitrione does, but that’s because has lofty expectations for himself.

“For this fight, I wanted to emulate Dominick Cruz,” he said after the fight.  “I wanted to be the 265-pound Dominick Cruz.  I love the way you fight brother, you’re elusive, and I wanted to be just like that.”

Cruz is the UFC’s first 135-pound champion, known for his unorthodox and perpetual movement in the Octagon, attacking from all angles.

“He’s so elusive man. He uses his athleticism to make everybody else change their game. Scotty Jorgensen is a tough, tough little fellow and Dominick made him look like a child, took him down at will, head strikes coming from every angle, finished with beautiful leg kicks,” said Mitrione, recounting Cruz’s recent title defense.

“And the way that Dominick’s game plan is and the way that he makes everybody so uncomfortable with his movement because it’s so herky-jerky and so unpredictable. I love the way he fights. I respect it. I told him before hand, I’m going to try and fight like you.”

Much of Mitrione’s athleticism comes from his time as a professional football player, having played for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. He’s only four fights into his mixed martial arts career, but that athleticism, while not quite up to par with Cruz’s yet, has allowed Mitrione to find success in the UFC when most fighters of his experience would be trying to fight their way up on regional promotions.

Mitrione is still in a highly exploratory phase of his growth, not quite sure where he stands in the overall scheme of the sport.

“This fight was the same as my last fight with Joey Beltran, so I can’t say where this really puts me as far as my progression as a martial artist. As a martial artist, I don’t really know where the hell I am because I haven’t really had the chance to capitalize or really see where my ground game is,” he assessed. “I don’t really know where my progression is. I know as a stand-up guy I can really let ‘em fly.”

Not that Mitrione is looking to get into a wrestling match anytime soon.

“I’m not asking for a wrestler, I’m just saying I don’t exactly know where (my ground game) is. I prefer to trade leather, I’d prefer to let my shins and my hands fly.”

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 3 hours ago
  • 0 views

Coming off a KO win over Derrick Lewis, the former NFL lineman thinks a win over the ex-UFC champ will help him get closer to contention. Matt Mitrione was on UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1 last night a read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 6 views

The first Heavyweight fight to take the spotlight is Matt Mitrione against Derrick Lewis. Will Lewis prove to be more than a big puncher in a thin division, or will Mitrione expose Lewis for being on read news >>

  • 12 days ago
  • 12 views

This is the UFC Fight Night 50 live blog for Matt Mitrione vs. Derrick Lewis, a heavyweight bout at Friday night's UFC event at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn.Mitrione, who has won two o read news >>

  • an hour ago
  • 0 views

Revitalized Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Matt Mitrione is setting his sights on bigger and better things within the 265-pound division, following a pair of back-to-back knockout w read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 1 views

UFC 178 could arguably be headlined by several different fights on the pay-per-view card. read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 1 views

UFC 178 could arguably be headlined by several different fights on the pay-per-view card. read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 13 views

It turns out former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has something in common with longtime rival Urijah Faber: While both are UFC pay-per-view mainstays, neither fighter is afraid to be on the read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

After being sidelined for nearly three years, Dominick Cruz will make his long-awaited UFC return at UFC 178 against Takeya Mizugaki. There’s one problem, though: The fight won’t be featured on the a read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 9 views

Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is unconcerned about his placement on the UFC 178 preliminary card. While Dominick Cruz is indeed a former UFC champion, he is not concerned about being read news >>