Talking ‘The Hardest’

Matt ‘The Hardest’ Ewin (23-13-1-1nc) is a retired professional MMA fighter who now spends his time coaching and training alongside Che Mills at Trojan Fighters. We last saw him compete in May 2013 and since then he has removed himself from the game to focus solely on coaching and training. Chances are if you are a social media fan you would have seen his public spats with Leeroy Barnes who is fighting Matt’s team mate this weekend at Cage Warriors 68.

Matt fought Leeroy back in March 2012 and Leeroy was able to win the fight by submission in the second round. Since then the two have gone back and forth with words and things have escalated pretty quickly. Leeroy claimed last Saturday in an interview I conducted  with him  that Matt had “threatened his family” on twitter. In the interest of fairness it was only right that we let Matt get his side of the argument across.

TQ – Matt, Che is coming off two losses on the bounce in Cage Warriors. Can you let us know how he is ahead of this fight on Saturday?

ME – Well I have been done there with him going over the ground work and other bits. Let me tell you, it’s not been nice being underneath him. Technically he is spot on and he is so focused. He really is soaking it up and it’s the best I have seen him. He just seems to be thinking about everything he is doing and let me tell you, he is nasty.

TQ – Seems to me that a few fighters coming from the UFC struggle when returning to the regional shows. What do you put it down to?

ME – He had a lot of pressure when he was in the UFC. His second fight in the UFC against Rory McDonald was a big step up for him. He had a few issues before the fight and in all honesty I think it was too much pressure for his second fight. He had to try and deal with the media while also focusing on the fight and it was just too much for him.

Then going into the Pendred fight he picked up a shoulder injury but no excuses, he lost the fight. But he couldn’t move his left arm in that fight and watching him, a friend and team mate getting hit was just not nice. It wasn’t how we had hoped the fight to go but obviously the injury affected him.

TQ – The fight against Cathal he missed weight. Obviously given his size he is more of a natural middleweight. Did missing weight in that fight and not being able to fight for the title drive the decision to move up to the Middleweight division? He is a big dude.

ME – Cutting down to Welterweight was a bit of struggle and didn’t want to put too much pressure on himself. When you put too much pressure on cutting weight you can’t fully focus on the fight so that wasn’t good. By moving up to Middleweight it just took another thing off his mind and let him focus more on the fight.

TQ – Now you and Che’s opponent Leeroy Barnes have no love lost for each other. Can you let me know aside from the tweets just how long this beef has been going on for and where did it start?

ME – After the fight we was absolutely fine. Then all of a sudden he started posting pictures of him submitting me and calling it the “perfect guillotine” and all that kind of stuff. It started from there really. After that we had a few words then everything was fine.

Now if you follow Leeroy on twitter you know that he posts absolutely everything on there so I responded one day with a tweet something like “is your brain wired to twitter?” He got pretty annoyed with that and started giving me shit back. Now I am a respectable guy so I challenged him on that.

But as for threatening his family that is just crazy. I would never threaten anyone’s family. It seems like this has just gone beyond anything. This has nothing to do with the sport. I want a formal apology from him otherwise it will go further.

TQ – Now he mentioned that he would raise it with Cage Warriors to make sure you wouldn’t be attending the weigh-ins. Have you been formally approached by Cage Warriors about this issue?

ME – Cage Warriors won’t take interest in what he has to say. No nothing at all. I thought they might say that don’t want me there because they don’t want it to kick off. But nothing has been said. I think he has been asleep and dreamt it up. I won’t be at the weigh-ins as I have some coaching and stuff to do at home and cant take the time off. Plus I would never cause any problems at the weigh-ins while he is fighting someone else. It’s him and Che who are fighting tomorrow, not me. Tomorrow Che will knock him out anyway. I’ll just sit back and enjoy that. If he wants to slap me then he will have the perfect opportunity tomorrow night.


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