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Matt Dixon turned down the UFC to better his chances inside the octagon

Matt Dixon is in no rush to get to the UFC.

Mostly because he’s confident it will happen eventually. At 24 years old, Dixon has turned down the opportunity to be on Dana White’s Contender Series and also a UFC event.

It’s not because he doesn’t want to. It’s the exact opposite.

“Mainly, it was just the timing of it,” Dixon said.

“Many times we got the opportunity, we were contracted to fight, so that was the main situation why we couldn’t take those fights, whether it was the Contender Series or an actual UFC card.”

The road

Dixon remains as one of the top welterweight prospects outside of the UFC. He is undefeated at 9-0, most recently earning a unanimous decision against Justin Patterson in his LFA debut on March 6. 

Before LFA, Dixon built a name for himself in Oklahoma. He made seven appearances for XFN, the state’s top MMA promotion.

“Magic” captured the welterweight strap by defeating Brian Grinnell via TKO at XFN 353 in November 2018. He defended the belt for the first time, finishing Braden Smith via TKO at XFN 357 in April 2019. 

After his next opponent canceled the day of the fight, Dixon decided to fight elsewhere.

“I was just like, ‘Man, I just want to make sure this next fight I have happens,” Dixon said. “I don’t have any problem fighting for XFN or fighting back here in Tulsa, so if we do that again in the future or anything like that, I’m open to it.”

Dixon’s LFA debut was much different than his previous eight fights. Instead of fighting in his backyard, he fought in Patterson’s home state of Texas at LFA 83. Dixon’s unanimous decision victory also took place in the co-main event on UFC Fight Pass.

“It was honestly one of the best experiences for me and honestly that is one of the fights I’m most proud of,” Dixon said. “It was one of those things just to get in there and fight and to do it in his hometown, still be able to perform, eat those shots and still move forward, it was something I proved to myself and something I am actually really proud of.”

The long game

Dixon expected to fight again for LFA this May, but those plans were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting to the UFC remains as one of his goals, but the prospect is still taking his time.

He’s seen too many fighters rush their way to the world’s top MMA promotion. One of those athletes is Sage Northcutt. Northcutt earned his fame after being featured on “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight” show. 

Northcutt won his first two UFC bouts after signing with the promotion, but then dropped two of his next three. He finished 6-2 before signing with ONE Championship.

“Watching guys and seeing how guys just got chewed up and spit out in the UFC, I mean all of that being said, I want to make sure I’m more than ready whenever I step inside the octagon,” Dixon said. “I think some of the injuries that he [Northcutt] took could have been avoided. But at the same time, not to throw him under the bus, he’s a great dude.

“Just to use that as an example, there’s a lot of athletes that I feel like are thrown into the spotlight a little bit soon.”

A matter of time

The future is unclear with the current state of the coronavirus pandemic. Dixon has no timetable on when he’ll fight again, but the Contender Series remains a possibility.

Despite previously turning down the UFC, Dixon always thought the UFC would come calling again. 

It did. 

According to Dixon, his management, Paradigm Sports Management Company, were in talks with the UFC in March. The discussion took place just two weeks after he defeated Patterson.

The pandemic put the talks on hold, but if Dixon’s track record shows anything, he’s OK with waiting a little longer.

“I always think I will have that chance,” Dixon said. “I’m not exactly sure who they were in talks with for the UFC, but when that UFC London card got shut down, we were in talks about potentially stepping in. There’s definitely been the talks.”

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