Melbourne born Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews won’t be overwhelmed when he makes the walk into the Octagon on Sunday to face Rostem Akman. With a crowd expected to exceed 50,000 poised to fill Marvel Stadium, however despite only being 25-years-old, he has experience on his side which includes fighting in front of such a large crowd.
“I think a lot of the fighters will agree, you just subconsciously block it all out,” Matthews told Fight News Australia. “All you can see when you are walking out is the Octagon. You can’t really hear too much, you can’t see all the fan’s faces. You are zoned in walking up to that Octagon and after the fight, it’s when you take it all in and realise the magnitude of the crowd, but during the fight, it’s me and my opponent and you try to get it done.”
Having competed back at UFC 193 where 56,000 people broke the UFC attendance record, Matthews believes it’s more special this time around because it’s the local fighters who have the limelight.
“Probably even more so because of, just the amount of Aussie talent and New Zealand talent we have got.
“The headline being an Aussie and Kiwi. I’ve always looked at it as the ANZAC takeover not Australia versus New Zealand, so it’s an absolute honour to be on this card and probably more so than the first one.
Having become a father for the first time in January this year, Matthews says his threshold at training has increased as a result of adding a daughter to the family.
“I’ve always been family orientated so not too much [partying]. I get much training done. Train just as much, just as hard and then I go home. I have my little one there. Get to play with her and that is extra motivation.
Hey everyone, please join us in welcoming to the world my beautiful daughter Alani, you already have lots of people who love you, little one! Born 6:04pm January 5 at 3.51kg everybody say hello to Alani Matthews! The whole clan is so happy you’re here! pic.twitter.com/dQfHj7Ut8l
— Jake Matthews (@JakeMatthewsUFC) January 6, 2019
“It’s weird. Definitely the threshold, where you have that quitting point at training, where you get tired, has definitely extended out. It’s not something I sit there and think about, ‘Oh, I have had a kid, I have to push harder now.’ It’s just something that has happened. A sub-conscious type of thing.”
Matthews’ opponent Rostem Akman holds an extensive amateur background but has had on the one fight in the UFC thus far, a fight he lost back in June. Matthews, who trains under his dad Mick Mattews, knows to be where Akman is, he has to be tough.
“He [Akman] is tough. He’s in the UFC for a reason. Everyone who fights in the UFC is there because they’re tough and a good fighter.
“Obviously he’s only had the one fight but we have found enough to do our homework and we think we have him figured out and we only going to focus on what we are going to do and take advantage of his weaknesses.”