For a professional MMA fighter, there is one goal: Make it to the UFC.

Freetown native and undefeated featherweight Connor Matthews is now one step closer to his Ultimate Championship Fighting goal after getting the call to compete for a UFC contract on the Dana White Contender Series on Aug. 2.

Before Fighting in the Octogan, Matthews Was Fighting For Our Country

Matthews knows what it means to fight. He was a combat controller for the Air Force for six years in special operations, calling in medical supplies and airstrikes, and working as the point of communication from the air to the ground.

“It was a really mentally and physically challenging job,” said Matthews. “It was a really good experience and I’m happy I did it.”

After six years of being on the battlefield, Matthews’ love for martial arts helped him get back into normal society.

The Return to MMA

“For my entire life, when I struggle with something, I get back into the gym and start training,” he said. “Martial arts really saved me when I came back and now it’s becoming my dream and I get to do it every single day. It’s been amazing.”

MMA allowed Matthews to deal with the mental trauma that coincides with war, and The Controller felt a sense of responsibility to lift up others who may be dealing with similar traumas.

Get our free mobile app

“Anyone who struggles with PTSD or depression, anxiety ... I just think martial arts is such a good tool for that,” said Matthews.

Every Sunday, he opens his facility to veterans and first responders to offer a safe space to train, talk and develop a healthier mindset.

Getting the Call for Dana White's Contender Series, Season Six

While he continues to grow his new gym in Wareham called The Controller MMA Proving Grounds, he will be training for the fight of his career on Aug. 2. The Contender Series has produced top-level talent, allowing hungry fighters to compete for a UFC contract, and Matthews is ready to show Dana White that he is the next UFC star.

“Nevermind the skill set I have, I’m marketable. I don’t just represent myself, I represent an entire community of special operations members, and I feel like a lot of people can get behind that,” said Matthews.

“I’m always going to put on a show. I’m a knockout artist, that’s what I do. I’m exactly what the UFC needs right now.”

Watch Connor “The Controller” Matthews fight for his dream Aug. 2 on ESPN+.

SouthCoast's Fittest Crossfit Athletes

Using the results from the 2022 Crossfit Open, here are the SouthCoast's Fittest Crossfit Athletes.