Jake Matthews eyes win over Michael Morales to enter UFC welterweight Top 15

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Jake Matthews eyes win over Michael Morales to enter UFC welterweight Top 15
Jake Matthews

MANILA, Philippines – Jake Matthews has indeed learned his lessons.

At one point, he was the wonder boy of the UFC’s lightweight and welterweight divisions after a pair of consecutive wins and a three-fight win streak. The UFC was building him, and a win would put him in the Top 15 rankings, where every win now takes him closer to a title shot.

But Matthews, at another point, looked beyond his opponent, James Vick, in UFC Fight Night Miocic vs Hunt in May of 2015. He ended up losing in the very first round.

So he’s flirted with the top rankings again, and now he is in a position to finally barge into it should he defeat Michael Morales in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night Allen vs Craig on Sunday, November 19, at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Matthews (19-6) is coming off a win against Darius Flowers, while Morales (15-0) is 3-0 in the UFC and is on board the UFC hype train.

“I think the winner of this fight gets a ranked opponent,” said Matthews, who has been in Las Vegas for close to two weeks to get acclimatized to the weather and time zone, which is several hours behind his hometown of Victoria, Australia.

And it is a stacked and loaded welterweight division led by champion Leon Edwards followed by Kamaru Usman, Belal Muhammad, Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, Kevin Holland, and fellow Aussie Jack Della Maddalena to name but a few in the Top 15.

“The average UFC career is roughly three fights and 18 months roughly. I have done something right to be here for close to 10 years. I had to learn on the job while fighting the best fighters in the world. I win a few times then am placed in a position to break into the top rankings, I would lose then start again. It has been a non-stop learning curve.”

Matthews doesn’t hold anything against the UFC for building up Morales. After all, he was in that position before (and he can still get it).

“My motivation for the sport is the same as when I was 19 years old — I want to win a world title. I train and remain fit all year round. The other difference is now to provide a life for my family (my wife is Filipina).” 

“The sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC has been good to me which is why I have been around the UFC for one-third of their existence, and it is an honor.”

“But right now, I am focused on getting a win against Michael Morales.”

UFC Fight Night Allen vs Craig will be televised live in the Philippines on the Premier Sports channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as on streaming site Blast TV. The preliminary cards begin at 3 a.m., with the main car getting on at 6 a.m.

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