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Vladimir Matyushenko, on eve of UFC fight with Jon Jones, lays out how he sees the fight going

By Zach Arnold | July 31, 2010

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He’s in the main event against Jon Jones at the San Diego Sports Arena. How much of a test will he prove to be for Jones?

ARIEL HELWANI: “We saw you work out and I think it’s interesting to get a chance to see you work out here because you’re working with guys, Antoni Hardonk, amazing striker. Stefan Struve, amazing reach. You’ve got guys like Fabricio Werdum in your camp. I mean, you’ve really picked some really great guys and I want you to talk about just how those guys have sort of helped get you ready for Jon Jones, a guy that many think is one of the most lethal strikers in all facets of the game, even on the ground, too.”

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO: “Yeah, definitely. My sparring partners are very, very good and you didn’t mention Jared Hamman, he’s got balls of, you know, anybody has and so he kept coming, he kept coming and Fabricio he’s a good submission guy, he just proved himself against Fedor Emelianenko and Antoni Hardonk, definitely you know, great coach and not just a great striker but also he’s got a great talent of being coach. Yeah, I mean, and all those guys as you can see is 6’4″, so that’s you know, height-wise it’s good for me for training for Jones.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Is it safe to say that if you can sort of deal with his reach and his lethal striking, as we talked about, that you feel as though if you can keep this fight close enough that it can go in your favor? Because you’re so tough and durable that if you can avoid that then maybe it can go your way.”

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO: “Yeah, definitely, it should go in my way. Yeah. The deal on the reach, I either stay out of the reach or come closer and be in clinch or take him down, that’s the plan.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Are you the kind of guy who likes to watch a lot of tape on your opponent?”

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO: “Yes and no, and again, in this particular case it’s really hard to watch the tape. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch it he still does things unpredictable, he switches his stance so and it’s a hard for opponent to read something like that.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You’ve fought so many big names in this sport. Despite his young age, would you say he’s one of the more dangerous fighters you’ve ever faced?”

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO: “Well, every fighter is a tough fight but I treat every fighter as the most dangerous, most hard fight in my life and right now it’s against Jon Jones.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “And how does it feel to be in the main event, getting all of this attention? Your first two UFC fights were on the untelevised portion of the card. Now, here you are fighting in the main event for the first time since 2001 in a UFC event. How does it feel to be back?”

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO: “It feels great and eventually it’s my goal and it’s not just bringing popularity to myself but bringing popularity to my team, my gym, and MMA in general. I think it’s great.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “When you put you head on your pillow at night and you start thinking about this fight and how it’s going to play out, how do you envision the fight ending?”

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO: “Ending is hard. Start, I know pretty much what it’s going to start like. Ending, you guys turn on Versus on Sunday and you see for yourself.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “All right, give us a preview. How’s it going to start?”

VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO: “I think Jon’s going to bring everything he’s got. He’s going to throw as many strikes and try to finish the fight fast and I know that if I just wait out, not wait out but I have to stand out the first wave, you know, I’ll be fine. I have to just scramble with him and just keep bringing back the fight to him.”

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