Mateo Vogel (6-2) is one of the top featherweight prospects in all of Canada and is now set to defend his title for the first time against Taylor Christopher (2-0) in the BFL 74 co-main event on Wednesday night.
Vogel is coming off one of the most exciting fights on the Canadian MMA scene this year where he picked up the BFL featherweight title in a crazy, wild back-and-forth fight back at BFL 72 in April against Nicolas Ouellet.
Not only did Vogel walk away with BFL gold that night, he said he learned a lot about himself as a fighter.
“My takeaway from that was this guy was able to go neck-and-neck with me on the grappling, which is something I wasn’t used to in the past. To be tested like that, not only with the grappling but to be tested in terms of it was my first time going five rounds and his first time going past round one, so hats off to Nic for that,” said Vogel in an interview with MMA Empire.
“But my biggest takeaway from that was how deep I was able to dig. You guys have seen me come back from some questionable spots in the past, but this was really a testament to my training and my belief in my training and my belief in my preparation, just to show that I could dig that deep and go for five rounds hard and that to me is a big boost in my confidence and a big boost in my training as well.”
Vogel has been grinding on the Canadian and American regional scenes since turning professional back in 2018 and he said being the BFL featherweight champion validates the hard work he has put into the sport.
“It feels right, man. It feels like it belongs. I’ve dedicated myself only to MMA for the past 5 or so years and before that purely to jiu-jitsu,” said Vogel.
“What I’m saying is it feels right in a lot of combinations in a lot of hard work. It’s a step that I had already visualized and I already told myself that I am a champion for the past few years. I’ve written it in my journal, I’ve said to myself that I am a champion, and winning the title was just confirmation.”
Vogel puts his newly-earned belt on the line Wednesday night and while he respects the challenge that Christopher brings to the table he doesn’t feel it’s been challenging to put together a game plan.
“It’s tough to really gauge recent footage of Taylor. It’s a lot of stuff from a year ago and I don’t like to hang my hat on that,” said Vogel.
“I’m going in there with a really open mind is my biggest takeaway here. I’ve been prepared for anything and wherever this fight goes. I’m not taking anything away from Taylor. Although he hasn’t been very active he could be very active in the gym and he looks to be very athletic and in good shape and if he wants to go toe to toe in any area of the fight I feel really confident to showcase my skills, including in athleticism where I feel like I’m a superior athlete.”