By KOTC Staff
One of the more interesting match-ups scheduled for King of the Cage Canada’s upcoming ten fight, plus card, November 21st in Edmonton, is a pivotal middleweight match-up between Brad Stewart and Matt Baker. While Stewart has gone 4-0 to begin his pro career and could be within striking distance of a title shot, Baker is riding high after knocking out Jamey Dearman in April. In addition, with both men stating that they’re expecting an aggressive, stand-up affair come November 21st, the bout should entertain, as well as demonstrate, where each man sits in the middleweight ranks.
“Not much,” said the 26 year-old Baker when asked what he knows about Stewart. “He’s smart and has no videos of his fights on Youtube. He’s a big Alberta boy. I think he has always won because he is bigger than his opponents, which won’t be the case with me. He says he likes to stand and bang which everyone knows is my favourite.”
“I think it will show that 185 is where I belong,” the Langley, B.C., fighter added. “I have lost close to 30lbs and feel better than ever at this weight.”
Baker isn’t shy about expressing his love for striking, which makes sense, when one considers how the fighter transitioned into professional MMA.
“I kickboxed for years when I was younger under world champ Tom Laroche, but have only been training in MMA for just over a year,” said Baker. “Just been addicted to it and started taking it serious after my first loss.”
Of course, Baker’s pugilistic experience was on full display at KOTC Canada’s “Fearless” event in April, during his aforementioned win over Dearman. The victory returned Baker to the winning column, after he was submitted by Team Toshido’s Clay Davidson last September, the only man to defeat Baker to date.
“Dearman's a pro boxer with lots of fights but that was his first MMA fight,” Baker said, when asked to recall the KO win and discuss its importance. “At the weigh-ins he joked to not be a coward and take it to the ground, confident he would knock me out standing in the first minute. I obviously took the challenge to heart. Awesome to get another fast KO but I knocked his teeth out with a knee to the face and one got stuck in my kneecap. The docs at the fight actually stitched the tooth in there. It got so infected I was rushed in for knee surgery the next morning. I was in the hospital almost three weeks and on 24hr IV antibiotics for 12 weeks at home. It really sucked but I’m super grateful I can still fight.”
While Baker enjoys the stand-up aspect of fighting, the middleweight understands it’s just one facet of becoming a complete fighter, and continues to benefit from training with several accomplished grapplers.
“I train out of Revolution Fight Team in Langley, B.C. under Dream World Champion Bibiano Fernandes, Team Nogueira black belt, Thiago Goncalves, Canadian Olympic Wrestler Colin Daynes, and K-1 fighter Paul Lalonde. Also one of my best friends and training partner KOTC middleweight champ Ryan Chiappe.”
“Everyone who has seen my fights knows hit hard and I love to bang. Even in my losses I have dropped everyone in the first 10 seconds,” Baker noted. “I love to stand on my feet but have worked my ground game so much with some of the best in the world. I’m comfortable at both now.”
With the end of 2010 fast approaching, Baker had this to say when asked about what he has planned for 2011.
“To get some bigger fights under my belt with guys with better records, and show how much I have improved in this sport.”