It’s a benefit for the fans at Front Street Fights. New athletes enter the cage every time that mixed martial arts take over CenturyLink Arena, a new batch of fighters looking to make a name for themselves and climb the ladder to the UFC. At the same time, there are a few fighters that have found tremendous success fighting in downtown Boise and keep coming back to CenturyLink Arena to hone their resumes and make a case to rise to the highest reaches of the sport. Matt Jones is one of those men, building his case for the next big-name opponent while building a rapport with fight fans in his home state.
Jones (5-2-0) is preparing for his eighth professional fight on May 12th Front Street Fights 12, presented by Bodybuilding.com, his first ever scrap with Carson Frei (6-2-0). In those eight appearances, it will also be Jones’ seventh tilt at Front Street Fights and first pro fight since his win over Kerry Lattimer last August at Front Street Fights 9.
An Idaho native, Jones trains regularly at SBG Idaho and has also trained this year at Duane Ludwig’s gym in Denver, staying with fellow Front Street Fights alum Josh “The White Mamba” Wick. Jones is always looking for new venues and events where he can fight, but he’s largely found himself in the cage at Front Street Fights in the first three and a half years of his professional career because of the opportunities it provides for strong competition.
“I’m always looking for other venues to fight in and for other opportunities. I’m looking at LFA andtrying to get a debut fight for them,” said Jones, winner of five of his last six fights. “But fighting at home in front of family and friends is great and makes it easier to sell tickets.”
“At Front Street Fights, I get to see opponents from all over the world, too,” said Jones, referencing his win over Brazilian fighter Regivaldo Carvalho in Front Street Fights 7. “They find the best opponents available and they bring them here.”
Being close to home also makes one of the more grueling aspects of fight preparation a little more bearable – the weight cut. In addition to training for the fight, fighter’s also need to be at their weight-class threshold by the time weigh-ins occur before a fight, meaning it is not at all uncommon for a fighter to need to lose multiple pounds within 48 hours of a fight.
“Fighting in my home town definitely makes the cut easier,” said Jones. “I can sleep in my own bed, I have my gym membership here in town, and I also don’t have to be travelling when I’m trying to cut weight.”
Those factors amount to a home-field advantage of sorts against Frei, a fighter out of Portland, but Jones will still have his hands full against a fighter who will be making a quick turnaround coming off his last fight in March at COGA 54. There Frei lost via submission to Nathan Stolen, a loss that snapped a six-fight winning streak.
“I’ve heard he’s a well-rounded fighter, and I’m a well-rounded fighter, too,” said Jones. “I’m going to continue to sharpen everything- my striking, my wrestling, my jiu-jitsu. I don’t treat every fight like it’s the same, but I’ll be focusing on everything.”
With their similar winning records, the fact that Frei is coming off of a defeat while Jones won his last bout has no bearing on their meeting at Front Street Fights 12.
“Once a fight is over, it’s done,” said Jones. “The next fight is always the biggest of your career.”
And Jones hopes another win at CenturyLink Arena, his fifth, will keep his star on the rise as he continues to build his record and eventually take his talents out on the road to even bigger promotions.
“My goal going forward is to win, earn a title fight, and win that title fight and have that belt with me going forward,” said Jones. “That’s the goal.”