Cage Warriors Unplugged makes an explosive return to the BT Sports Studios on March 24th, with 2 explosive shows packed from top to bottom with some of the organisation’s most prolific talents.
Matthew Camilleri takes his 1st step on his CW career after signing a multi-fight contract with Graham Boylan’s iconic promotion, taking on the returning Aiden Stephen in a Flyweight barn burner.
I caught up with the Next-Gen stand out as he prepares to make his debut a night the CW fans will not soon forget.
Matthew Camilleri (6-1-0) is a Maltese professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Featherweight division, representing Next Generation Liverpool. Matthew has competed for Centurion FC, Cage Warriors Academy North-West, Almighty Fighting Championship, Full Contact Contender and makes his Cage Warriors debut on March 24th at CW 151 Unplugged.
I’d like to kick things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today Matthew, and also to congratulate you on your upcoming debut for Cage Warriors at CW 151: Unplugged mate.
“Anytime and thanks mate.”
My pleasure Matthew.
I trust preparations have been going well in the build-up to your scheduled return to the cage?
“Yeah, everything is going well actually, Working on getting my style better.”
I’m glad it’s all going good man.
To be a part of Graham Boylan’s iconic promotion is a dream many fighters such as yourself strive for. Hard work and dedication has earned you a multi-fight contract with the iconic promotion, a task many know you set for yourself in 2020.
How does it feel to finally call yourself a Cage Warrior?
“For me it’s a huge thing, as I’m the only person from my country to do it, I came to the UK with the goal to fight with Cage Warriors in 2020. The gym has a lot on the roster also, it’s amazing to be amongst Europe’s elite fighters. I knew I could do it, I just needed the opportunity, and now it’s here I feel great about it.”
And very well deserved mate, no doubt you’re still pinching yourself.
“Yeah, but I always knew I’d be there. Everybody thought that I’d be there earlier, I just needed the chance and that’s what I’ve always wanted, it was just the case of people noticing me.”
It’s great to hear, dreams can come true. Hard work put in in the build-up and very well deserved.
It has been an incredible ride for you leading up to your debut walk at the BT Sports Studios. 7 professional bouts since 1017 and from these wars, only a single loss, Capturing FCC gold to now to be part of the CW roster.
Many fond memories I’m sure, but is there a certain moment throughout your professional journey that will always hold a special place for you?
“My 3rd fight in my professional career will always be one that I like. It was at Cage Warriors Academy North-West on 2 weeks notice, people said that I can out grapple strikers pretty well but I wouldn’t make it against high level grapplers, I proved them wrong and defeated a high level grappler on 2 weeks notice. A lot of people know him, he has competed at GrappeFest, a very good submission artist and I absolutely out grappled him. I was ready to celebrate my Birthday on the 30th of November, I was eating whatever I wanted as well as training. I’m always training but I wasn’t my usual self. Took me 2 weeks to cut the weight, and I showed some high level grappling, wrestling and Jiu-jitsu as well. That for me, would be one of my all time favourite fights.”
That was an incredible performance by yourself, it’s always good to prove the naysayers wrong.
“Yeah, definitely. And to be a little bit more specific, one person in particular back in my country who used to be a coach at the gym I used to train with used to say things like this to me, everyone used to disagree with him. When I beat this guy, everyone said how well I did, even a black belt at the gym said it was a very nice victory. Instead of saying how good my performance was, he kept saying things like I should have finished him, I should have done this and I should have done that. I said to him well, you always said that I couldn’t win but now you wanna turn things around and say more stuff about my performance. In my mind I was thinking so I was gonna lose and now you’re changing things up, oh wow. Really people are insane sometimes, at least I can say I’m winning, I’m laughing, you cheer for the other guy and you’re crying now. At least I’m always happy and from the inside you guys are so destroyed. I’m happy when people get annoyed that I win, it’s a very nice thing to destroy haters, it’s insane how good it feels.”
Absolutely, I’ve never understood people who are that way inclined.
“I agree. If I win and I don’t deserve to win, I’ll say it out loud. I’ll look at the fight back and see what I could have done better, but all of the fights I’ve won, over always deserved to win. Some may say I’m boring, but the reality is they think that because I don’t let my opponents do anything. I’m not the kind of person to fight and take a round and let my opponent get another, I wanna hit and not get, I wanna dominate and make sure I win.”
A great attitude to have mate.
Looking forward, As previously discussed, your new venture begins on March 24th. You’ll be facing off against Cage Warriors veteran Aidan Stephen, who makes his long awaited return to the organisation.
What do you make of Aiden as you prepare to collide in the Capital?
“He’s a good grappler, kicker too. He has an ok stand up game, good Jits and wrestling, he’s resilient and durable as well. Obviously any of us can lose, but I don’t see myself losing this one, every fight I’ve fought everyone runs away from me, they don’t come forward. But I think this guys gonna come forward, which I don’t mind at all. He lost to Paul Hughes and Harlier Tobias Harila as well. I wanna fight those guys too because they’re at the top of my division. So I have to do the same things they did, and that’s to beat him, i need to make a statement. I can beat him, and he needs to think the same thing, that he can beat me. I never chose Aiden, they offered me him and I said yeah, I don’t care who it is, I’m not here to refuse fights. They could offer me anyone and I’d accept, even the top guys, I’ve always said i want to fight Jordan Vucenic because he’s the best there is in my opinion, so even if I got offered him I’d be like, absolutely. But me and Aiden are gonna have a great fight in my opinion.”
Very determined attitude mate. and as yiu said, Cage Warriors has a vast amount of talent in the Featherweight division, plenty of tests to look forward to.
Cage Warriors trips to the BT Sports Studios have given the fans some of the most explosive highlight reel finishes and bouts that will forever hold historic moments in CW history. No doubt March 24th will be no exception.
Other than your inclusion on the night, are there any confirmed matchups in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
“My teammate Matt Bonner will be on the card, I’d like to see him win obviously. I love to watch him fight, he’s not only my training partner but also a close friend also. I’m looking forward to seeing Will Currie vs Mick Stanton also, I like both their styles, it’s gonna be an explosive fight. I’m also looking forward to CW 150 in London, Jordan Vucenic is fighting so I’m excited to see that. 3 weeks after Unplugged in Manchester, a lot of my teammates will be fighting and Tobias will be fighting also, so I’ll be interested to see that.”
A very busy time for you ahead, there’s gonna be some great fights both in London and Manchester.
It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today Matthew, wish you all the best for the remainder of your training and I look forward to catching you out there mate.
“Thanks mate, it would be great to see you after my fight and have a chat in person.”
Sounds good to me man, I’ll definitely drop you a message on the day.
Last but not least, do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“I’m hoping to give my fans a treat with th3 win, especially my Maltese fans. We’ve finally hit one of the top organisations in MMA and put Malta on the map, getting this win will be big for Malta. Stay tuned as I’m gonna do my best to get the win and give you a show, I’ve never disappointed anyone so far and I’m not looking to start now. Big thanks to all my sponsors also, Infinity Nutrition, CBD Lancs, Goodtogo Recovery, my Maltese sponsor also Chain the Butcher, Feel Supreme, Royal Minerals. And a very special shout-out to Next Generation Liverpool and all my training partners, thank you for all the help throughout this camp and pushing me. And Scotty, my Boxing coach, we’re always gonna be together so thank you all so much.”
Cage Warriors 151: London will be live on UFC Fight Pass, March 24th
Feature image by Graham Finney Photography