As a general rule, one cannot select their own nickname; it’s something that has to be bestowed upon you by others, and in some cases, whether you like the moniker or not doesn’t particularly matter.
In Mateo Vogel’s case, he didn’t even know the meaning of the nickname given to him by the Brazilians in the gym, but fittingly, the name has stuck.
“For the first little while I didn’t know what it meant, so I was neutral to it,” said Vogel, whose nickname “Carrapato” is the Portuguese word for tick, the small, parasitic arachnids that can cause you all kinds of problems if they get attached to you. “When I found out what it meant, I honestly didn’t like it.
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“I got this name because I’m notorious for taking everyone’s back,” added Vogel, who defends his Battlefield Fight League featherweight title against Drew Brokenshire on Thursday at BFL 76: Canada vs. USA in Vancouver. “It’s a habit that I’m thankful for and that has stayed with me since I was 14; I’m 27 and my game hasn’t changed all that much.”
The Ottawa, Ontario native is one of the top prospects in Canada, brandishing a 7-2 record with wins over current UFC fighter Garrett Armfield and BFL bantamweight titleholder Serhiy Sidey, and his losses coming against French-Canadian standout Xavier Alaoui and another current UFC competitor, Da’Mon Blackshear. He returns to Vancouver on a two-fight winning streak, having won and successfully defended the featherweight title in his first two appearances under the Battlefield banner last year.
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After securing the belt with a hard-fought majority decision win over Nic Ouellet in April, Vogel defended his title in impressive fashion in October, collecting a third-round stoppage win over Taylor Christopher.
This week, he looks to parlay the recent work he’s been doing with Charles “Air” Jourdain into another statement effort against Brokenshire.
“I made a connection with Charles Jourdain and he and I have been pushing each other every week for the past month or so,” explained Vogel, who has previously made the trek to Stoney Creek to train with the likes of Kyle Nelson at House of Champions but has since shifted to making the shorter journey across the board to Quebec to work with Jourdain and the Brazilian Top Team Canada crew. “It’s great to be able to be pushed like that and do rounds with somebody that is UFC caliber, as well as to learn from him. He’s giving me insights, as well as Master Fabio, and it gives me a whole new look to my game.
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“I’m really grateful for that opportunity. It shows me the ropes and serves as a confidence booster because I see that I can do well, know that I can handle that pace, that my gas tank is up to par. I know I’ve always made bold claims about (my gas tank) and bold claims about guys at the UFC right now, but to go more often with UFC guys reinforces my belief in myself.”
Given his track record and previous training sessions, there is no reason for Vogel not to believe in himself.
Alauoi has gone 4-1 since their meeting, winning and defending the UAE Warriors bantamweight title, Blackshear was called to the Octagon two fights later, registering a draw with Youssef Zalal in his promotional debut before catching a loss at UFC 285, and Armfield collected three straight wins before garnering a short-notice opportunity in the UFC last summer.
And all the 26-year-old Sidey has done is continue to establish himself as another of the nation’s top prospects by claiming the BFL bantamweight title with a first-round submission win, successfully defending it twice, and adding another title to his collection earlier this month with a first-round finish of former WEC and UFC competitor Walel Watson to move to 8-1 overall.
Now, Vogel gets another chance to prove himself when he steps in with the 36-year-old veteran Brokenshire at BFL 76.
“These are the fights I’m thankful for and I’m actually hunting these m*****f***** down, guys like Drew,” said Vogel, the tenor of his voice changing, the pace of his speech quickening. “I want guys that have been pushed and been at that next level. “Drew has beaten guys who were in the UFC and has 26 fights; he’s been at this since 2006, since I was 10 years old.
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“I’m chasing these fighters,” he continued. “For the longest time I was quite bitter that nobody wanted to fight me. I was one of the toughest guys to line up in Canada for a while, and it’s only now that I’ve been getting a string of fights. It’s been guys like Drew that I’m looking for. I’m not looking for anybody low level that sucks — I want somebody high level that can show that I’m ready for the UFC and be there to stay.”
Inspired by the recent efforts of fellow Ontario products like Mike Malott and Jasmine Jasudavicius, the surging champion from the Canadian capital sees himself as the next fighter to matriculate from Battlefield Fight League to the biggest stage in the sport, and believes a standout effort against Brokenshire on Thursday could play a big part in helping him accomplish that goal.
“This is a showcase opportunity,” he said plainly, clearly aware of the opportunity before him. “Last fight, I went in there to show off my Muay Thai, and this fight, I’m looking to go in there and display my full MMA skill set.
“This is a chance for me to show off, and I’m really grateful for that opportunity.”