Jake Matthews doesn't fault Li Jingliang for eye-gouge at UFC 221

It would be perfectly understandable if Jake Matthews had no love for Li Jingliang after their UFC 221 fight.

Matthews (12-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) won and picked up a “Fight of the Night” bonus for his efforts at Saturday’s event. But he also went home with a pair of sore eyes after Jingliang (14-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) blatantly gouged them to get out of a choke in the second round.

As it turns out, Matthews isn’t a guy to hold grudges. In an interview with the UFC after his pay-per-view main-card bout with Jingliang at Perth Arena in Australia, he took the high road.

“Everything’s fine,” he said. “It’s more superficial than anything. It’s not too deep. No hard feelings against him. It’s what happens in fights, and all the best for his next fight, and I hope he does well.”

Matthews even had some fun about the whole situation on social media (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Going into the bout, Matthews was more concerned about enjoying his time at welterweight than cursing his opponent. Although he found success early on as a UFC lightweight, his later efforts saw diminishing returns. So when he decided to move up, he vowed to make the most of the trip.

“When I was at lightweight, I could never train, I couldn’t eat, I was very lethargic, and you take that into the fight,” he said. “On fight week now, I’m having fun, I’m having full training camps, I can eat, and that enjoyment plays into the fight. My whole mission in this fight, win or lose, was just to go and have fun, and I did that.”

At least one part of the fight didn’t look like much fun at all. But according to Matthews, these things happen in MMA.

For complete coverage of UFC 221, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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