Jilted Matyushenko Hopes for March Bout

By John Chandler Jan 7, 2010
Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Vladimir Matyushenko is continuing his training camp following the cancellation of his scheduled UFC 108 bout against Steve Cantwell last Saturday in Las Vegas.

Cantwell withdrew from the matchup last Wednesday. UFC President Dana White informed the media that the fighter was suffering from a serious medical condition and that his career was in jeopardy.

Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer told Sherdog.com that he found no problems with the partially completed medical paperwork Cantwell had submitted. In a statement released by Cantwell’s management team, Knock Out Representation, it cited an issue with the commission, but said the Cantwell’s team was confident that he would be able to continue his career.

The exact nature of Cantwell’s situation is still unknown. Like many, Matyushenko has also been left in the dark.

“I still don’t know very much about Steve,” Matyushenko said. “The UFC seems to be keeping very quiet about the whole thing so I’m going to respect his privacy. I wish the best for him.”

Instead of heading home last Wednesday, Matyushenko was asked by UFC officials to wait around for a potential last-minute opponent. Once that didn’t materialize, the 39-year-old became an emergency replacement for the night’s main event.

“It was basically a waiting game,” Matyushenko said. “The UFC asked me to stay on weight and be ready since they were actively trying to find an opponent. They couldn’t, so I was prepared in case something happened to Rashad [Evans] or Thiago [Silva]. There were so many fighters that suffered injuries before the show. Anything could have happened.

“The experience really wasn’t all that bad. Even though I didn’t end up with an opponent, I was able to spend my time in Vegas working out, training with some other camps and staying in shape. I still had a lot of fun.”

Matyushenko was paid his show money and is expecting to hear from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva concerning his next fight as soon as next week. His manager, Nima Safapour, expects his client to return to action in March, potentially as part of the UFC’s Versus debut on March 21 in Denver. In the meantime, “The Janitor” is content to patiently wait for his next opportunity to climb back up the light heavyweight ladder.

“I’m continuing to improve every day working with Jared Hamman, Antoni Hardonk and all of the other guys at VMAT,” Matyushenko said. “I’m hoping that I’ll be able to show my standup game in my next fight. We’ve definitely been working hard in that area.

“The light heavyweight division has a lot of good guys and great matchups. Rematches with Tito [Ortiz] and [Antonio Rogerio] Nogueira are probably at the top of my wish list, but I’ll fight anybody put in front of me.”
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