UFC 257’s Matt Frevola: Out of the Comfort Zone

Matt Frevola and Luis Pena, UFC
TAMPA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 12: (R-L) Matt Frevola punches Luis Pena of Italy in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Amalie Arena on October 12, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

You can take the fighter out of Long Island, but you can’t ever take the Long Island out of the fighter. It’s precisely that reason that has led UFC lightweight Matt Frevola to continue living a split life. In the very beginning of his MMA training, Frevola moved for school and wound up finding a great home gym in Florida.

“I was born and raised in Long Island, New York and I actually started out training at Serra BJJ with Matt Serra and all those guys,” Frevola (8-1-1) said. “Then I came down to Tampa, Florida to go to school and when I came here I linked up with Matt Arroyo and started training at Gracie Tampa South.”

Then about three years ago, Frevola moved back home to Long Island. Although he started working again with Matt Serra and Ray Longo at the famed gym, he’s still kept a lot of his camp down in Florida with Matt Arroyo and crew. While that relocation is not an easy one, that may be precisely the point.

“I love both teams and they both have a great schedule. Long Island will always be home — I got family there, I got my fiance there — that’s my home,” he said. “But sometimes I get too comfortable at home — my bed is a little too comfy. I got my woman making all my meals, making the bed and everything.”

And while he enjoys his life in Long Island, he feels that it is not ideal for bringing out the best version of himself come fight day.

“I got to make a bit of a change and I’ll go to Tampa and I’m kind of like a nomad down here. I’m staying in a little cheap Airbnb room and I’m kind of alone. I’m down here for a reason, I’m focused,” he pointed out. “It’s just a good switch up and I got great coaches in both places. Everybody gets it and it works.”

Now Frevola looks to step into an even further uncomfortable situation on Fight Island. Having never fought anywhere further than Vegas in his pro career, flying halfway around the world to be on a fight card like this one is sure to be difficult in a number of ways. Frevola is all about that too though.

“As soon as I heard about Fight Island, I wanted to go. I was getting some serious Mortal Kombat vibes, like I need to get out there and fight,” he said noting the odd timing and placement of his fight as well as the plane ride. “These challenges really excite me and I’m preparing for all of them and I’m ready to meet them head on.”

The next challenge for Frevola is Ottman Azaitar. The two will square off as part of the prelims of UFC 257 Saturday live on ESPN+. Or at least, that would have been the case. At Friday morning’s UFC 257 official weigh-in, only Frevola made it to the scales. UFC officials announced that he would serve as a backup fighter for the other two lightweight bouts on the card, after Azaitar was removed for undisclosed reasons.

Update, 9:15AM ET: In a wild turn of events, Frevola will now face off with Arman Tsarukyan, whose opponent Nasrat Haqparast did not weigh in Friday. TSN was first to report the news.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:34.

For even more with Matt Frevola, be sure to check out his UFC 257 virtual media day scrum below.