Lincoln, R.I.– For the first time in nearly five years, Tateki Matsuda returns to the CES cage, where the UFC vet began his fighting career, on Saturday in Lincoln, R.I., on UFC Fight Pass. Before that, the Japanese-born New England MMA fighter sat down with FightBook MMA.
How does it feel to be back in the CES cage for the first time in a long time?
I’m very excited. All fights are the same, but fighting locally is more comfortable. It’s a much shorter trip than to Japan (laughs), and it will be easier to make weight.
How much have you improved since your last fight with CES?
That was in the summer of 2014, about a month before I made my UFC debut. Since then I’ve fought against top competition in the UFC and Japan and have trained extensively with the best fighters in New England. I’m more experienced now, and it’s going to show. It’s nothing specific; I’m just better everywhere.
How excited are you to put on a show for your local fans?
I’m going to show them what’s up (laughs)! A lot of people think I left America to go to Japan, but that’s just where I’ve fought. I’m really excited for this local fight to show everyone in the region that I haven’t left. I love Rhode Island, I love New England — I think they love me back.
What would you like to accomplish in the next year?
I want to be healthy and fight as much as possible. No more injuries, I just want to fight to the best of my abilities and fight as much as I can.