TUF 10 fighter Matt Mitrione didn’t stand out immediately on the show as a real prospect, but after four fights in the UFC, and four wins, he’s proven that he’s got what it takes to make an impression in the division.
Surprisingly, despite finishing Tim Hague in less than three minutes last night, Mitrione actually felt he started the fight slowly.
“I was a little bit more sluggish than I wanted to be starting out,” Mitrione tells UFC.com. “I warmed up a little bit too early and kind of cooled off a little bit. I think it was just learning to fight a little bit later – it was a little new for me.”
Despite not getting off the blocks as quickly as he would have liked, Mitrione admits he felt comfortable with how the early exchanges played out, and was confident that the fight was going to swing in his favor.
“I could tell he didn’t really like getting punched at all, and it kind of bothered him. So I just wanted to be patient and make him think about his legs a little bit more and then…I didn’t think it was going to happen that fast, but I knew it was going to happen.”
The former NFL player is keen to stress that though he’s now unbeaten in the UFC in four fights, those are the only four fights in his entire MMA career, so he’s under no illusions that he’s now ready to compete with the very best the division has to offer.
“I want to get tested, but no, it doesn’t make me think I’m further along. I need to test my ground game. I still don’t know, you know, how well I do in a fight versus how well I do in practice. So no, I’m where I think I am. I need to get into a fight where I have to test my ground game, to see how good it is and how well I can handle myself.”
During The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 Mitrione was far from being the most popular fighter, but over time he’s slowly gained the respect of MMA fans and last night he relished the vocal support from the troops at Fort Hood.
“That was a rowdy crowd, bro. It was awesome man, a good time and you could hear every time I punched…I think the crowd kind of favored me, and the USA chants, and, it was dope bro, it was awesome.”