It’s been two and a half years since Matt Dwyer last competed in the UFC, but he continues to make a strong push for a return to the biggest stage.
On Saturday night in the main event of XFFC 18, Dwyer (10-4, Toshido) will battle fellow UFC-vet Dominique Steele (17-10) for the vacant XFFC middleweight title, and continue to prove he’s more UFC-ready than ever.
Dwyer said, looking back, he doesn’t feel he was ready for the UFC when he debuted in 2014, but has made major strides since then, and is ready to show it.
“I’m still learning, but I feel like I’ve gained some serious ground now,” said Dwyer in an interview.
“This time around, trying to get back into the UFC, I’m more than ready, and I just want to go out there and show that.”
Since being dropped by the UFC back in 2016, Dwyer has put together impressive wins over tough opponents in Chris Anderson and Jesse Ronson.
Now faced with another UFC-caliber opponent, Dwyer will look for another triumph, while doing so in front of his hometown crowd.
It’s been over five years since Dwyer has been able to compete so close to his hometown of Kelowna, and he said he’s looking forward to what should be an epic night.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun being so close to home and seeing so many familiar faces in the crowd,” said Dwyer.
“I’m really excited. It’s going to be a rockstar kind of night, if I stick to my game plan and everything goes my way.”
Strong Preparation, Strong Performance
Heading into Saturday night, Dwyer said he feels he’s coming off the best training camp of his career.
He said each fight camp he goes through he learns of certain elements he needs to integrate into future camps and certain elements he needs to eliminate, and it all came together perfectly the past couple months.
“This time around, I think I really found the perfect balance, and it’s showing with my body weight being only 195 pounds, just 10 pounds off of making weight,” said Dwyer.
“I’ve been training with a lot of heavyweights as well, and trying to push those guys around all day is a tall order, but I got through it and now I’m feeling ready to go.”
Much like Dwyer, Steele is also on a nice run of his own since being dropped from the UFC roster, winning three of his last four fights.
Of Steele’s 17 career wins, 10 of them were via unanimous decision, whereas Dwyer’s finishing rate is much higher, with eight of his 10 career wins coming by knockout or TKO.
With Steele’s knack for going the distance and Dwyer’s ability to finish the fight at any point, Dwyer said this fight could go down a variety of ways, but all will result in a third straight victory for him.
“I’m very confident in myself and my abilities, and it’s just going to come down to what openings I see that night,” said Dwyer.
“Whether I finish him early or we go the distance, I’m very confident my hand’s going to be raised at the end of this fight.”
“A big thank you to by coach at Toshido, David Lea, who’s stuck with me through thick and thin. Also a big thank you to my strength and conditioning coach, Sean Hawthorne, at One Life Fitness for keeping the blades sharp, as well as Sterling Redlack at RDC Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They always keep the door open for me to go practice some wrestling or jiu-jitsu whenever I need, so it’s awesome to have guys like that around.”