Every red-blooded male in the country will be glued to the television on Super Sunday watching the Steelers and Cardinals duke it out, right? Not exactly. We found the one guy who isn't, but we're not about call him a girly-man. Since quitting his baseball in college at the University of Tampa, Matt Arroyo has dedicated his life to jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts so much so that he has no idea who's playing in the Super Bowl. He's actually glad to be away from his homebase in Tampa during its biggest weekend in years. It was more important to get his UFC career back on track as he faces Dan Cramer in the first fight of the night at UFC 94.
Arroyo is on the comeback trail from a broken ankle that he suffered in a June loss to Matt Brown. That loss was kind of shocking. Many in the MMA world were buzzing about Arroyo's potential after his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 6. He reached the semifinals but had to bow out of a fight against the eventual champ Mac Danzig because of a rib injury. The experience on the show and subsequent loss to Brown was a wake-up call for the 26-year-old Arroyo:
"It quickly tells you if this is something you want to do. It sucked but then it was good too, I got to take a nice little break, think about everything and now my training was good. I was fresh."
Arroyo told Cage Writer that he was re-focused by the injury:
"The UFC, it's the best athletes for fighting in the world. I know there's a short window of opportunity to get in and do what you have to do. Try to get as good as you can as quick as you can."
Arroyo was off for seven months off, including four-plus months of rehab. He doesn't expect any ring rust and sounded pretty confident that Cramer is a good matchup. He said Cramer is solid in all aspects of the game but lacks a specialty. He thinks Cramer is type of guy who can often fall victim to his opponent's specialty.
He also discussed the different post-show paths of guys like Tommy Speer,
Jon Koppenhaver War Machine and Ben Saunders. Arroyo mentioned that he had heard Speer, the TUF 6 runner-up, was walking away from fighting but also noticed he had fought three times in late 2008.
Check out Cage Writer's picks for all the fights at UFC 94.
Join Cage Writer on Saturday night. Maggie Hendricks will host a live chat throughout the PPV portion of UFC 94. Cofield will be cageside with updates on all 10 fights. And don't miss the only post-fight wrap-up show from the MGM starting at 10 p.m. PT/1 a.m. ET
- Matt Arroyo