Matt Secor is a man being overlooked by many heading into his Bellator 186 bout Friday against Logan Storley. Yet that’s not something Secor is at all worried about. He has his own plans for Friday’s big show at Penn State.
Ultimate Fighter alum and current Bellator combatant Matt Secor took the time to speak to Cageside Press ahead of Bellator 186, and we talked about his bout with Matt Storley, his stint on TUF, and the struggles of UFC veterans jumping to the competition.
The Ultimate Fighter 16 saw Secor lose a very questionable decision to Michael Hill, a decision considered by many to be one of the worst in the show’s history. If he had the chance to do it all over again, would he still go on the show? Yes, but don’t expect him to want to make a second appearance.
“Yeah, I think I would. I think I would. Yes. I wouldn’t go back on it again. But I’d go back on it the first time” he told us. Despite the disappointing finish, however, Secor absolutely finds some positives from the experience. “I took a ton of positivity out of that. Especially on the decision thing.” Saying it helped give him perspective, Secor added that “even though you can do something, sometimes you don’t get it. That’s the thing that bolds our character as human beings and as men. It’s all in how you can get back up and strive to become better.”
“I would love to fight Julian Lane again. I’ll slap the red mohawk right off that kid.”
Take the Hill fight, for example. “What people don’t understand about that fight is, not only did I break my hand in the first punch that I threw, after The Ultimate Fighter, I was walking in a parking lot, I slipped and fell on ice and broke my leg.” Talk about bad luck. “I broke my tibia and fibia, had nine screws and two plates [put in] the leg, and was out for about nine months. It was probably one of the darkest places I’ve been in my life ever. But we got out of it, we got back” he continued.
The bad experiences make that good that much better. Or, as Secor put it, “the sun don’t feel so good without the rain.”
Secor’s experience on TUF 16 saw him butt heads with the show’s infamous troublemaker, Julian Lane. Lane was recently brought back to the fold for The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption. Secor’s thoughts on that particular move, and if it was just his notoriety that got Lane the spot?
“They contacted me for that show as well. I’m sure that’s why they did it, because he’s not a good fighter” he answered, adding “I would love to fight Julian Lane again. I’ll slap the red mohawk right off that kid.”
Lane is in the past for the time being, however. The immediate future brings Logan Storley, a 6-0 fighter considered one of the hottest prospects in Bellator. He trains with Henri Hooft and Robbie Lawler, and has been mentored by Brock Lesnar. How does Secor feel they match up?
“I think it’s a great match-up, I think it’s going to be an awesome fight” he told Cageside Press. “We’re going to find a way to win. We’re going to impose our will on November 3.”
“I’m like an anaconda in the Amazon in that water. If he wants to take me down, that’s good…”
He pays no mind to those who say he’s being overlooked, and who hype up Storley.
“I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff, I could care less who people think he is, or who’s hyping him up, or all this stuff” Secor said. “He’s another man, stands on the same ground I do, breathes the same air I do. I’m going to go in there — if he can beat me, it takes a very tough person to really stop me. Maybe he’s tough enough, maybe he’s not — we’re going to find out November 3.”
Expanding further on his opponent, Secor opined that “the one thing that he has, is in his back pocket is his wrestling. Once he takes me down, that’s where I live, that’s where I survive. I’m like an anaconda in the Amazon in that water. If he wants to take me down, that’s good, if he wants to stand up, we’re going to have a good night, we’re going to have fun. It’s going to be very fun punching him in the face.”
So what has Matt Secor focused on leading up to his battle with Logan Storley at Bellator 186? “The biggest thing for me is to stay healthy” he explained. “Every loss that I’ve had in my career has been because of me. I’m not trying to take the wins away from the people that got them from me, [but] it’s been from me — I took the fight hurt.”
“The Russian guy I fought two fights ago, I fought him where five days before the fight, I had an injury, I had separation in my right shoulder. I couldn’t wrestle, I couldn’t throw punches.” Still, Secor toughed it out, made it to the fight, and held his own, even if he didn’t get the win. “That was a huge thing. We learned a lot from it, we learned we could go out there at fifty percent and still bang with the best in the biz. It’s just about staying healthy, staying on the right track of mind and going out there and performing.”
Secor has been through pretty much a who’s who in modern MMA promotions: the UFC via TUF, the WSOF, and Bellator. When asked about the key differences between them, and whether Bellator is his home for the foreseeable future, Secor hedged his bets. “I don’t really know. If they offer me a big contract, then yeah.”
“Bellator, I don’t have any complaints with them” he continued. “I don’t have any complaints with WSOF either, they treated me fairly well as well. I don’t have any complaints with anyone, I’m just loving that they give me a shot to showcase my skills on national television, and I’m very excited about doing this.”
“For the fighter, [Bellator] treats me just as well as the UFC did. Just as well as the WSOF did. They treat me very well. I try to just worry about the fight and not worry about the promotional thing.”
“Us mid-level guys are hungry. We’re ready to fight. Our records might not show it, because we didn’t get the opportunities that they did, but we’re hungry man.”
Of course, ignoring the promotional side of the business becomes harder and harder in the current landscape. Big money fights rule the game, it seems. As Secor sees it, “the UFC paved the way for everyone to fight, then Bellator took it to another level when they first started doing their tournaments. Then when they brought Scott Coker in, it brought it to even to another level. I think Bellator’s doing great. Whatever the UFC does, I think that has to do with entertainment, hence why an entertainment company bought the UFC.”
“I think money rules the world, that’s the way it’s going to go.”
The fact that UFC fighters jumping over to Bellator have struggled isn’t lost on him, either. On that topic, the fairly reserved Secor spoke up right away. “Us mid-level guys are hungry” he said. “You gotta come in here and kill us. You guys have been doing it for a long time, you’ve been pampered, getting these, respectfully, cans their whole careers.”
“Us mid-level guys are hungry. We’re ready to fight. Our records might not show it, because we didn’t get the opportunities that they did, but we’re hungry man. I’m hungry.”
Of course, there are other factors as well. Case in point, Benson Henderson. “I actually fought on the same card as [Benson Henderson] with his first loss [in Bellator]” Secor told us. “Koreshkov, he was absolutely huge for 170lbs. People who don’t think size matters in the cage, it does.”
He has no reason to make excuses, either. Lets just say that Secor isn’t exactly a Bendo fan. “I don’t think Benson Henderson beat Frankie Edgar ever, I thought Frankie won both of those fights. That being said, I’m biased, since I’m on his [Edgar’s] team.”
Though he’s about four hours away and doesn’t get to train with Edgar often, what does he take from the former UFC champ? “Frankie’s work ethic alone, he just goes and goes and goes. It’s very inspirational.”
The benefits don’t stop there. “Iron sharpens iron.”
Catch Matt Secor take on Logan Storley this Friday at Bellator 186 at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State in University Park, PA. The prelims air on bellator.spike.com — followed by the main card, which kicks off at 9PM on Spike TV.