Melbourne UFC fighter Jake Matthews joins the army in a desperate bid to stay fit during lockdown before the biggest match of his career

  • Melbourne UFC fighter joined the Australian Army to stay fit during lockdown 
  • He completed five weeks of basic training and is now a fully-fledged Private
  • Jake Matthews is set to take on UFC legend Diego Sanchez this weekend 

An Australian UFC fighter has taken a drastic step to stay fit during Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown.

Jake Matthews, 26, enlisted in the Army and is now a fully-fledged Private after completing five weeks of basic training at the Kapooka Army Recruit Training Centre near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

He is set to take on his childhood hero, UFC legend Diego Sanchez, this weekend on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in the biggest match of his career.

Jake Matthews (pictured left) is now a fully-fledged Private Australian Army after completing five weeks of basic training at the Kapooka Army Recruit Training Centre

Jake Matthews (pictured left) is now a fully-fledged Private Australian Army after completing five weeks of basic training at the Kapooka Army Recruit Training Centre

The UFC star who competes in the welterweight division is pictured dancing with his partner

The UFC star who competes in the welterweight division is pictured dancing with his partner 

The welterweight told Sporting News the 16-hour days of non-stop training, with no phone or contact with the outside world, was just what he needed ahead of Sunday’s massive fight.  

‘Getting screamed at at 5:45 in the morning to get out of bed. Everything you think typical of army life is. Make your bed, brush your teeth, shave, then first class by 6:30 in the morning,’ he said.

‘Then it’s theory, weapons, combat stuff, a few PTs here and there. From six in the morning till 10 at night they own ya, then you lay in bed and sleep.’ 

But with 20 professional mixed martial arts bouts already under his belt and the years of brutal training that goes along with it, Matthews said he’s used to the regimental and physical side of combat.

Matthews is pictured getting his hands wrapped before a match in Auckland, in March

Matthews is pictured getting his hands wrapped before a match in Auckland, in March

Matthews (pictured left) delivers a vicious knee to his Norwegian opponent Emil Meek in Auckland on February 23

Matthews (pictured left) delivers a vicious knee to his Norwegian opponent Emil Meek in Auckland on February 23

With 20 professional mixed martial arts bouts already under his belt and the years of brutal training that goes along with it, Matthews said he's used to the regimental and physical side of combat

With 20 professional mixed martial arts bouts already under his belt and the years of brutal training that goes along with it, Matthews said he’s used to the regimental and physical side of combat

The Celtic Kid is coming off a five wins from his past six matches and says it will be difficult to juggle life in the military as well as his fighting career.

But the committed family man, who just had a daughter last year, is determined to make it work. 

‘When my daughter was born something just clicked and I decided to go and enlist,’ he told 7News.

‘I think it’s a bit of a protective instinct that came over me.’ 

‘It’s something I’ve always wanted to do… I’ll be looking for any deployments I can get.’

Upon his return from Fight Island, the Brazilian Jujitsu Black belt will go into self isolation for two weeks and then head back to base for another week of ‘more advanced’ weapons training.

The Celtic Kid is coming off a five wins from his past six matches and says it will be difficult to juggle life in the military as well as his fighting career

The Celtic Kid is coming off a five wins from his past six matches and says it will be difficult to juggle life in the military as well as his fighting career 

But the committed family man, who just had a daughter last year, is determined to make it work

But the committed family man, who just had a daughter last year, is determined to make it work

'When my daughter was born something just clicked and I decided to go and enlist,' Matthews said

‘When my daughter was born something just clicked and I decided to go and enlist,’ Matthews said

Metropolitan Melbourne remains under Stage Four lockdown after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews issued the state’s second round of stay-at-home orders back in July.

The COVID-19 crisis meant Matthews’ training base on the northern outskirts of Melbourne in Epping – the XLR8 Training Centre – would be forced to close.

He had signed up to the Royal Australian Infantry in January.

When the gym shut and he had now place left to train he decided to complete his basic training.

The preliminary card of UFC 253 will begin at 10am on Sunday.

The event will be headlined by Nigerian-born New Zealander Israel Adesanya, whose taking on Brazil’s Paulo Costa for the world middleweight title.  

When the gym shut and he had now place left to train he decided to complete his basic training (Matthews is pictured with his partner)

When the gym shut and he had now place left to train he decided to complete his basic training (Matthews is pictured with his partner) 

Matthews (pictured right) is set to take on his childhood hero, UFC legend Diego Sanchez, this weekend on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in the biggest match of his career

Matthews (pictured right) is set to take on his childhood hero, UFC legend Diego Sanchez, this weekend on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in the biggest match of his career

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