That was when Matthews realized what he wanted to do for a job.
“Afterwards, while eating KFC with my dad, I told him I’d like to pursue MMA as a career. He said, ‘Let’s do it,’ and the rest is history.”
Just three years later, “The Celtic Kid” made his UFC debut, and since then has put together an impressive record in both the 155-pound and now 170-pound divisions. His no-fuss approach to fighting doesn’t make a lot of headlines, but Matthews wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don’t get involved in all of the hype, call people out or put on a fake attitude like some other fighters do. I am who I am – a quiet professional – and I won’t change for anyone. I show what I can do when the fight comes.”
MORE UFC 259: How To Order | Jan Blachowicz Career Retrospective | Inside The Octagon | Aljamain Sterling’s Top Finishes | Journey To Champion – Petr Yan | Kennedy Nzechukwu | Tim Elliott | Inside The Mind Of City Kickboxing: Eugene Bareman
A big part of the young talent’s development in recent years has been thanks to his coach, former UFC middleweight and four-time judo Olympian Dan Kelly.
“I’ve been with Dan since it was just me and him sparring in a tiny 3×3-metre boxing ring. Nowadays, we have a huge group. At one point, there were five UFC fighters in the gym. The great thing about it is we have no egos – it’s just a big bunch of guys who like to punch each other.”
The team jokingly refer to themselves as “Dad’s Army” because a lot of them are fathers.