Though he’s currently riding a wave of success in the IFL, Matt Horwich’s story hasn’t always been filled with good news. Before he made it as a mixed martial artist, Horwich battled a drug and alcohol addiction that spiraled out of control. After a period of time spent squatting in abandoned houses and searching for ways to support his habit, Horwich recognized he had hit bottom and started fighting his way back.
He turned to spirituality and adopted a Zen-like quality that is equal-parts hippie, monk, and surfer dude. He credits his faith in God and the fighters at Team Quest for pulling him out of the quagmire his life was in and setting him on his current track. That track includes his first defense of his recently acquired IFL middleweight title, which will go down February 29th in Las Vegas – the day before his wedding. We recently chatted with Matt Horwich, where he discussed his favorite training partners, his array of nicknames, his love of the IFL, and his rockstar aspirations.
CagePotato: What are your thoughts on your title defense against Ryan McGivern?
Matt Horwich: I know a lot about Ryan, more than Tim Kennedy, because I fought him before and I’ve seen him fight quite a bit. He’s way awesome – it’s an honor to fight him again. Sometimes I think he forgets how good he is, like in the (Joe) Doerksen fight. I hope this will be one of the nights he forgets how good he is.
Have you been working on anything new to prepare for this fight?
I’ve been working on a lot of counter punches and takedown defense. Getting back up. I don’t want him to win a decision from taking me down again and not getting submitted. I’m not letting him pass guard this time.
You’ve skipped around to different camps and trained in different places. What’s been your favorite place to train?
My favorite place is my team, Team Quest. It’s a blessing that they have such a great group of guys to work with so I can be well prepared. As far as venturing out and training in other places, my favorite place has been Legends in Hollywood. I’m good friends with Eddie Bravo and he showed me a lot of good rubber guard stuff. And Chris Riley, the stand-up coach there, is my favorite kickboxing coach. I’d like to do some training with Bas Rutten again – he’s pretty close to there.
Your official nickname is “Sauve”, but you’ve also been called “The Fighting Hippy.” Two names with two very different vibes – which do you prefer?
I like them both alright. It’s cool to have more than one name. I like “Sauve” because it’s like relaxed and flowing and I like “Fighting Hippy” because it’s original. It’s good to be close to earth – it’s a beautiful universe and awesome things are always happening, all the awesome potential to do great things and make our dreams come true, and affect others positively.