That enjoyment finds Matthews reborn in the gym as well, seeing the world of a fighter for the first time through the eyes of a parent.
“Without consciously thinking about it, I just seem to push harder in training now. That sort of breaking point where you get tired and relax, it’s extended out further now. I don’t know if it’s due to becoming a dad or not, but that’s definitely happened since we’ve had the baby. If anything, its improved my drive, my motivation. And hopefully something I can take into the fight.”
The fight he speaks of is Saturday’s tilt against Sweden’s Rostem Akman, a fierce striker with only one professional loss on his record.
“I think it’s a good fight just to get back on track, get back into the win column. He’s in the UFC for a reason, he’s a tough guy. Is he the caliber of guy that I’ve fought before? No. But in saying that, I’m going in there as if I’m fighting a world champion, like I always do. So, to me, he’s the toughest guy in the world. It’s a good fight, mentally. If they brought out a big-name guy, nerves might be racking up a little bit more. The goal for this one is just to get a nice, quick finish. Put the statement out that I’m still here, still active, still getting wins.”