Matheus Nicolau explains why he’s converting a share of his UFC Columbus purse to bitcoin

Matheus Nicolau is taking a page out of Francis Ngannou’s book.

Two months after the UFC heavyweight champion announced he would “take half my UFC 270 purse in bitcoin,” Nicolau has decided to do the same with his UFC Columbus pay. Nicolau, 2-0 in the UFC so far, faces David Dvorak in the preliminary portion of Saturday’s show in Ohio.

“That has gotten my attention some time ago,” Nicolau said of bitcoins during an interview with MMA Fighting. “You know that the career of an athlete can be short, especially in MMA. We have to prepare for the future. I’ve always thought about starting my retirement plans and thing like that.

“With so much stuff going on in the world, wars, high inflation and more, I was talking to a few friends of mine, economists, and they talked to me about bitcoins and how much it’s grown over the years and how the graphic is good despite its recent drop. I think bitcoin is one of the coins of the future and I wanted to start soon.”

Nicolau, 17-2-1 as a professional MMA fighter, said he has partnered with Bitwage to “stay away from the frauds” and “put part of my purse in bitcoins, already thinking about my retirement.”

“I’ll take some money on my hands because I have bills to pay and do stuff, I don’t make that much yet,” he said, “but I’m taking part on bitcoins, a share I won’t need [right now], for my retirement in the future.”

Making plans for a more comfortable post-career life doesn’t mean Nicolau has one foot out the door. At 29 years of age, the Nova União flyweight said he got “beat up a lot” in his camp for UFC Columbus, “the best way to prepare for big challenges.” Dvorak, 3-0 inside the octagon and unbeaten in his last 16, hasn’t lost in nearly a decade.

“This fight is worthy of the top-10 of the division,” Nicolau said. “Dvorak is very tough and I see him as my toughest challenge at the moment, and I’m ready to win this challenge and move a few more steps closer to the top.”

Nicolau competed on the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil in 2015 and was let go by the UFC after losing to Dustin Ortiz even though he was victorious in his first three in the company. Back to the UFC two years later, Nicolau won decisions over Manel Kape and Tim Elliot in 2021.

“Every opponent has its particular and unique complexities,” he said. “Some will be more explosive, stronger, others will be trickier, more complicated, like Tim Elliot, for example, who’s very awkward and hard to read. David has his strong weapons, too.

“He knows how to fight and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, has a good spirit. He’s strong, too, and has finishing power. I’m aware of the things he can do and I’m well-trained to match that really well with my game. I’ll find a hole and get the victory.”

Nicolau wants to secure his first finish inside the octagon since a Japanese necktie submission over Bruno Korea in 2015, and thinks this fight has everything to be bonus-worthy.

“My focus is on winning, getting out with my hands raised, but coming out with my first bonus in the UFC wouldn’t be that bad.” Nicolau said. “Winning this fight and winning it well, I’ll move a few steps up the ranking and hope to face a top-5 opponent next. I’ll keep winning and getting closer to the top.”