HeavyMMA: You spoke on MMAthletics about athletes having a certain number of snaps, fighters having a certain number of rounds, and when they’re up, they’re up. You had your snaps in the NFL, but how many rounds do you think you have left? Do you think about that at all? Do you blueprint it at all? Or do you just keep enjoying it until the UFC says, “Okay Matt, we’re done with you” and you move on?
Mitrione: I think that, to be honest with you, I’ve thought about it. I have a number in my head like, “This is pretty realistic. Anything more than this is gravy, but this is the least that I want to get to.” So I have that number, but honestly man, if my body has enough and says, “Your time’s up, Chucko” than my times up; there’s not really much I can do about it. I can tell you that at this moment, I feel really good. I feel very healthy and my body treats me well during camp.
I really have to govern myself. I really do enjoy training, and practicing, and learning, especially because I change it up so much; I’m in this camp and that camp, I’m training with this person and that person – I change it up so much it’s always new to me. I train too much, and I over-train easily because I’ll go three-and-a-half, four weeks in a camp without taking more than a half a day off. That’s not a really good decision, but it’s easy for me to do stuff like that.
So it kind of all depends. As long as my body is happy with what I’m doing, and as long as I respect the effort that everybody puts forth for me and to help me out, allowing me to be in the limelight while they kind of grind in anonymity, as long as I let them know that I appreciate what they do and pay it forward, I think my body will treat me well.
HeavyMMA: You mentioned how you’re an itinerant guy when it comes to training. Where are all the places and who are all the people you’ve worked with in preparation for this fight? How many air miles did you pile up?
Mitrione: I spent my entire camp at Randy’s (Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas), so I spent five-and-a-half, six weeks there. I stopped through Gary, Indiana a lot actually. Miguel Torres’ gym has a fella named Anthony Gomez, so I ended up going up there and working out with him quite a bit. I worked out with Pat Barry up in Milwaukee a couple different times, Andrei Arlovski in Chicago. I went to California and worked over at Tiki Ghosn’s gym. Tried to get some time with Josh Barnett; couldn’t get some time with him. I went out and worked with Eddie Bravo. I’ve been around.
Really, I travel a lot, and really, it’s just because I want to be like a foodie.
A foodie goes around and tries everybody’s food; “I really love this about this, that about that” and they create their own dishes. That’s what I want to be about fighting. I really want to be a guy that never turned down an opportunity. Even if I get my ass kicked in a gym, I still want to be able to be like, `Yeah, I rolled with Eddie Bravo. Yeah, I grappled with Josh Barnett and he put me in this one spine lock, oh my gosh.’ You know?
I want to have those references, I want to be able to have done that, like coach Neal Melanson does. He trains with everybody, every name in the book I’ve ever heard of as far as catch wrestling and jiu-jitsu goes, and now Coach has made his own cookbook. That dude’s got stuff that nobody else does in the world, and he’s phenomenal at it, and I want to learn that too.
I think I’ve got a little inkling of that, a little portion of that with my stand-up. I’m right-handed, but I fight southie because I’m more natural at it, give me more angles. I’m pretty quick, I throw punches from strange, strange, awkward places, and I’m not afraid to throw my shins anywhere against anybody. I see that and I think it gives people trouble.
We’ll see. If my ground game and my grappling comes along like my stand-up, I could be pretty damn tough. I’m much stronger, much quicker, much more explosive, and my cardio is much better than I think a lot of people give me credit for. Tim Hague for example. I was talking to Tim after we fought and it was the same kind of comment. “I had no idea your leg kicks landed so hard. I had no idea, you were in and out, making space so well, I just didn’t know which way was up after a second.”
I feel that as long as people take me a little bit lightly or think that they’re fighting “Meathead” off of TUF 10 or think that I’m an easy scrap – and I am; I have a shit-ton of hype behind me, a ton of hype — but if you don’t think that I’ve earned that hype and I deserve it, and you come in there all “I’m gonna beat the piss out of this boy” like Christian Morecraft already said, well than it’s gonna be rough for you brother because I’m a nasty cuss. I can throw’em and I’m not afraid to let’em go.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of HeavyMMA’s interview with Matt Mitrione where he breaks down Sunday’s fight with Morecraft, more of his thoughts on training, and a special message for fellow UFC Live competitor Pat Barry.