It’s always a dream of any athlete to compete in their sport professionally. And in one month’s time, Spruce Grove’s Matt Klute will get to live that dream.
After wrapping up his amateur career at Unified MMA 36, Klute, 27, will make his professional debut at Unified MMA 37 on May 24.
Although he still has aspirations of climbing the professionals ranks into the bigger promotions, Klute said it’s already going to be a dream come true on May 24.
“It’s always been a dream to do a pro sport of anything pretty much. I think it’s most people’s dreams to play a sport and get paid for something you love to do,” said Klute.
“It’s pretty much take it one fight at a time, try and put together a few victories in a row, and start looking at the bigger promotions eventually.”
Klute was originally set to make his professional debut back at Unified MMA 33 on Dec. 15, 2017 before the event was cancelled due to the moratorium put in place by city officials.
Having had the luxury of competing four times as an amateur since then, Klute said it ended up being a smarter choice to gain more experience as an amateur first.
“I thought it was a smart idea to get a little experience first, which turned out to be a good idea because I have the weight cut and everything down pat now.”
Prior to getting his start in MMA at 20 years old, Klute was a high-level hockey goaltender, playing as high as AA and junior B.
Having been a goalie since he was 12 years old, Klute said the reaction time and flexibility needed to be a solid goaltender has helped his MMA career in a big way.
“With punches, I always see all the ones coming at me. Some may still hit me, of course, but when seeing them, they don’t hurt as much when you get hit,” said Klute.
“Even the mentality from being a goalie, there’s a lot of pressure on you every game, so I’m usually pretty calm when I’m in the cage too.”
No Fun Time
Despite working a full-time job as a project manager and estimator in construction, Klute still manages to make it to training six days per week, with some of those days including more than one training session.
With his employer being his cousin’s construction company, Klute said he’s afforded enough flexibility to be able to train the amount required.
“One of the advantages to working with family is I get to work from my office at home, so if I want to go to the gym early in the morning, I can do that. If I want to take off an hour early for striking classes, I can do that,” said Klute.
“They’re very open to giving me time off when I want to train, so it works out pretty good.”
Klute is a part of the elite teams at Shaved Bears MMA and Frank Lee’s, training with the likes of Teddy Ash, Tanner Boser, Graham Park and Menad Abella.
Since joining the two training facilities, Klute said he’s made massive strides in his overall game, and continues to improve each and every fight.
“It seems like it’s just a good team. Everyone’s there to help each other out,” said Klute.
“Even just watching my first fight with Unified, I kind of just stood there and took one and gave one. Now I’m trying to use more footwork and wrestling. I just feel everything’s gotten a lot better this past year.”
High Praise From Pytlik
Prior to making the move to Shaved Bears and Frank Lee’s, Klute was training at Hayabusa Training Centre, which is were he connected with his first striking coach, Pat Pytlik.
Pytlik said when he met with Klute for the first time, he immediately noticed he was different than everyone else. But in a good way.
“He was a very tough guy who was already flexible and already very athletic,” said Pytlik.
“When I first met him, he had so many good attributes that once we started working together, he was progressing quickly. When we were doing pro-team sparring or pro-team training, Matt was one of the only amateur guys allowed to come train with us.”
In his last four amateur fights, Klute has shown true grit and determination, with each fight going the distance in barnburner, back and forth fashion.
Having trained with and known Klute for several years, Pytlik said calling Klute tough would be an understatement.
“He’s been through a lot and overcame a lot in his life. Fighting, to him, isn’t tough. Life is tough. Fighting is easy,” said Pytlik.
“His toughness and tenacity doesn’t surprise me at all. The truth is he’s actually very skilled. He doesn’t have to fight the way he does. He fights like that because he wants to fight like that. He wants to put on a show.”
At his age and with a fast start to his professional career, Klute has proven he checks all the boxes to make a run towards one of the big promotions.
Pytlik said if Klute keeps on the path he’s currently walking, it’s truly up to him how far he takes his career.
“I can tell you he can go as far as he chooses to go,” said Pytlik.
“If he wants it, he’s going to go for it. If he wants it, he can get it.”