If anything, featherweight Connor Matthews looks at his 2021 as a year to grow on rather than one that was a disappointment.
Even though he was only able to fight once last year, Matthews did pick up a win and remain undefeated as he heads into his 2022 campaign.
“Obviously last year was not ideal for a fighting career standpoint because the amount of fights I had that fell out, and coming off the pandemic with fights not being scheduled to begin with,” Matthews told MMAWeekly.com.
“I only got one fight in last year and that’s not enough with what I want, so I’m really looking forward to this year. Hopefully there are bigger things. Things are opening up and I’m ready to go, so I’m really excited for this year.”
Because he was able to have more time out of fight camps, Matthews was able to work on his game and feels like he will see dividends off his work in his bouts this year.
“I feel like that even though I haven’t had fights, I’ve grown my game,” said Matthews. “I’ve had time to focus on my game instead of making weight or just focusing in on a fight.
“I really got to work on my skills, especially my stand-up. My Jiu-Jitsu game has also gotten better. I’d say I’ve leveled up in all departments.”
This Friday in Lincoln, Rhode Island, Matthews (4-0) will look to remain unblemished when he takes on Keith Speed (5-5) in a main card 145-pound bout at CES 66.
“I think he’s my toughest opponent yet,” Matthews said of Speed. “What I need to do is worry about myself and do my game; play my game and not worry about what he’s going to do; he’s going to have to deal with the problems I bring to him.
“I’m ready to go 4-0 and ready for a big challenge in my fifth fight.”
Coming into his fight this Friday undefeated and in a feature spot, Matthews could start to feel pressure build for himself as he moves up the ranks, but he doesn’t see it that way, but instead chooses to focus on the fights themselves and where they could lead him next.
“I don’t feel like it’s pressure at all,” said Matthews. “I’m going to go out there and be confident and show everybody what I can do.
“I kind of go fight by fight because you don’t know what can happen in a fight, but ideally I’d like to get four or five fights in a year. Hopefully after this fight I can get a quick turn-around and hopefully fight on the Contender Series by this summer.”