Mats Nilsson, (9-2 MMA), is a fast rising prospect from Sweden. He travels to Scotland to take on Chris Scott at Cage Warriors 53, in Glasgow, on 13th April. It looks to be one of the fights of the night. Mats took some time out to speak to me about his upcoming fight and his MMA life.
Hi Mats. thanks for taking the time to do this. Can you tell people a little about yourself?
“Anytime! Hmm, what is there to tell? I stumbled on to a judo mat in my teens. Got hooked and went on from there to BJJ, grappling and eventually MMA. I’m 29 years old and have fought professionally since 2008. Recently became a proud family man when my wife gave birth to our daughter a couple of months ago”.
You are fighting Chris Scott at Cage Warriors ! how much do you know about him?
“Actually I don’t know much more than his record as there’s little to no clips of him fighting online. He’s riding a good win streak and seems to have an edge on the ground where he has collected most of his wins. From what little we’ve interacted on twitter he seems to be a nice, good guy who doesn’t take him self too serious”.
How is your training going? is there anything you’ve had to change for this fight?
“As explained I don’t have much of an idea exactly what to prepare for. It’s pretty much the normal struggle to enhance my strengths and develop my weaknesses”.
What do you see as your best skills in this fight?
“Normally my clinch and ground game is what gives me the nod. As that seems to be Chris’ field of expertise as well I’m not sure how this one will pan out. So, in order to answer the question, I’ll have to say my right high kick”.
You have fought for cage warriors before I see. How good is it to fight on their shows?
“On a scale? ;) I really enjoy being on their roster and fighting at their events. They’re excellent in pairing a great show for both fans and fighters. Quality match ups makes for exciting fights and caring for the fighters leads to them performing at the peak of their abilities”.
Last time out, you fought Tor Troeng and lost by unanimous decision. There is a saying that says you can learn more from a defeat than a win. How much have you learnt from that fight?
“Oh, I learnt a lot. For one, don’t let him fire that left uppercut when he has you pressed against the fence – hurts like a ….. All jokes aside there’s probably some truth to that saying. When you win you celebrate, enjoy it for a week and then you’re back in the gym like nothing happen. A loss is analyzed and thought through in a whole different way. For me the loss became a catalyst for putting in the work needed in order to evolve my game”.
How is it to see Tor Troeng now on the Ultimate Fighter show and do you think you could end up there one day?
“I enjoy seeing him on the show. He was the better man when we fought, no fuzz about it. He’s worked long and hard for that opportunity and deserves it. Of course I can end up there one day”.
Which has been your career highlight to date?
“That’s a tricky one to answer. The whole experience of travelling the world and having half naked men trying to beat you up is a highlight”.
I never experience getting into the cage and fighting. And for that I have so much respect for everyone who does it. What’s the feeling like when the cage door is shut and it’s just you and your opponent?
“It’s the best! Scary and exhilarating at the same time. Thinking “let’s get it on” and “How the f**** did I end up in this situation” at the same time. There’s no where to go. You’re trapped inside with no other option but to control and master yourself”.
What is the best thing about fighting and what motivates you to fight?
“My answer above sums it up pretty well”.
Do you have any pre fight rituals or any songs you listen to that get you motivated before a fight?
“I do have some rituals. More so for getting mentally prepared than motivated as motivation in it self is rarely a problem for me. There’s this certain warm up routine I execute before each fight. Once that is done I know I’m ready. It gives me a sense of composure”.
And finally, is their anybody you’d like to thank?
“I’m the sum of all the people around me. Friends, family, coaches, training partners, sponsors. I owe them all for everything I am”.