Matthew Semelsberger of Ijamsville returns to UFC, continuing ‘campaign’ to elite status


October 30 – In what was a formality given his growing reputation for explosive performances inside the Octagon, Matthew Semelsberger signed another multi-fight contract with the UFC on September 29.

The deal, he said, will allow him to continue what he calls “a campaign” towards elite welterweight status in the world’s first mixed martial arts promotion.

Semelsberger, a graduate of Urbana High and a resident of Ijamsville, went 3-1 under his first UFC contract, which he signed in August 2020 after spending several years building his resume on the regional tour. Over the past 13 months, the 6-foot-1 freestyle fighter has recorded two spectacular one-punch knockouts – clubbing Jason Witt in 16 seconds on March 13, then repeating the feat in 15 seconds against Martin Sano on September 25.

He said he was offered the new contract days after his vicious right-hand man put Sano to sleep at UFC 266, placing Semelsberger on a short list of UFC fighters with not one but two wins. almost instantaneous.

“It was the dream, to get to the UFC and be successful there,” Semelsberger said via text Friday. “Now that I’ve gained a lot of experience in the Octagon in my first four fights with them, I’m aiming and shooting to become an elite, world-class welterweight fighter.

“I have proven that I am dangerous, that at least I have my place in this. But if you know me, you will know that I always aim higher when I level up, so everything from now on is a campaign to go as far as possible in the ranking. “

Semelsberger, 28, made his UFC debut in August 2020 with a unanimous decision over Carlton Minus. Overall, Semi is 9-3 in his career – which he boldly embarked upon after dropping out of college with just two classes of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2014.

The only flaw in the former Marist College’s UFC football safety record came against Khaos Williams, who nominated “Semi the Jedi” for a unanimous decision on June 19.

The loss – which came after a barrage of hype thanks to his flashy flogging of Witt – caused Semelsberger to re-evaluate his approach and seek more balance mentally and physically. He relishes his role as an artist, but above all he seeks to fight with a mixture of aggressiveness and intelligence. Before facing Sano last month, he felt better prepared to handle everything that comes with any fight on the sport’s biggest stage. He seemed to embrace the education process more and settle down in his place within the organization.

Then he quickly pounded another opponent, which made it easier for the decision-makers in the UFC. Even in the loss to Williams, Semelsberger fought hard against another phenomenon for 15 minutes. And the burn involved in his two under 20-second knockouts was probably more than enough to convince the company that it warrants another deal.

“I don’t really set limits for myself, but I recognize and am aware of the milestones and step-by-step progress it takes to climb higher and higher on the ladder of success,” said Semelsberger. “Above all, I am grateful to be alive and to even be able to attempt the goals and dreams that I have within me. I am grateful to my coaches and teammates, friends and family who have always been there for me. keep me focused and hungry. I’m very excited for these next steps in my UFC career. “

After being put in the limelight for the past year and sailing to some degree of sudden stardom, Semelsberger said he would pull the rest of 2021 out of fights, while continuing to train Crazy 88 MMA at Elkridge and at the Clinch Academy in Frederick.

“I think we’re shooting to come back in early 2022,” he said, “but nothing signed and official yet.”

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