Matt Mitrione says TUF China Finale KO of Jordan was key for his 'own self worth'
MACAU â€“Â Mired in a rough patch with three losses in four fights, including a pair of first-round setbacks,Â Matt Mitrione may have been backed into a corner on Saturday.
If he was, he responded perfectly by backing Shawn Jordan into a corner and sitting him down with a barrage of punches late in the first round of their TUF China Finale main-card fight in Macau.
But Mitrione (7-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) said he wasn’t thinking about what might be at stake with a loss to Jordan (15-6 MMA, 3-3 UFC), a fellow former football player.
Calling a win on Saturday “terribly important,” Mitrione said a victory was crucial for him personally, regardless of whether or not his job was on the line.
“To be honest, I don’t even think about my job security,” he told MMAjunkie at the post-event news conference. “But for my own self worth, it was really important.”
Prior to the win over Jordan, Mitrione, who got his pro MMA start at Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” had a decision loss to Cheick Kongo, a TKO loss to Roy Nelson and a submission loss to Brendan Schaub. In between was a gorgeous 19-second knockout of Phil De Fries 11 months ago.
For the fight with Jordan, the former NFL defensive lineman said he and his team, including former UFC standout Chris Lytle, worked on Mitrione going for it.
“We had a game plan and we addressed things I was too hesitant on (in past fights),” Mitrione said. “We tried to make sure it’s an afterthought now instead of being a primary (concern). If I ever lose again, I won’t lose because of being tentative.”
Mitrione mentioned personal struggles outside the cage in his post-fight victory speech. But he said he’s taken steps to clear those hurdles.
“I’m an idiot and I do a lot of dumb things a lot of times,” he said. “I started to get out of my own way a little more and go down the right path instead of running through the forest.”
Now with six knockout wins in his seven UFC victories, including Saturday’s “Performance of the Night” bonus winner of $50,000, a Mitrione who is out of his own way could prove to give fits to the heavyweight division.
For complete coverage of the TUF China Finale, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.