On Saturday night, in front of a room full of adoring fans, 19-year-old Matthew “The Hitman” Hickman is about to enter the ring to do what he has been doing all of his life, fight.

On Saturday night, in front of a room full of adoring fans, 19-year-old Matthew “The Hitman” Hickman is about to enter the ring to do what he has been doing all of his life, fight.

Hickman is a member of the Green Family Martial Arts in Ardmore, and has been training there for the past 15 months. Over the course of that time, Hickman has participated in five Final Round Championships Fight Nights hosted by Troy Green, including Fight Night 17 on Saturday

Even with a 1-4 record, no one garners more attention than Hickman when his name is called before entering the ring.

“I feel like the man,” Hickman said.” I am the people’s champ, win or lose.”

One of the reasons the crowd cheers for Hickman is his fighting style. Never one to shy away, Hickman is an aggressive fighter looking to end the fight as quickly as possible.

Hickman learned how to be aggressive by watching his idol Keith “One Time” Thurman box. 

“I really looked up to him because he is a knockout artist,” Hickman said. “I really would like to be like that one day.”

According to Hickman, he  was a trouble maker growing up. In school, he would skip class, get into fights and was sent to
detention on a regular basis. 

After finding himself in legal trouble during his teenage years, Hickman looked for a way to use his skill set in a positive way. Hickman said growing up he lacked discipline and structure, something he has found through the Green Family Martial Arts center.

“I saw on Facebook that they were having fights, and I went to one of coach’s first shows and after that I got hooked, It was like a drug to me,” Hickman said. “Going to gyms and stuff like that gave me an opportunity to get out of the way. It taught me to be a man and disciplined.”

Fighting is a type of relief for Hickman, channeling his aggression in the ring to become a better person.

“It lets me release my anger and aggression without doing toxic stuff in my life,” Hickman said. “It is a positive outcome, I can release my anger in the ring instead of on the outside on everyone else. This is for me, and this is what I love.”

Green knew upon first meeting Hickman that he was special, even with his past.

“He is a different human when he is with us,” Green said. “He has changed dramatically and he is maturing and growing up right in front of us.”

Green  recently started a non-profit to help kids in similar situations like Hickman, to overcome their issues and train to fight.

“I get really close to these guys, I pour my whole heart into them,” Green said. “I just started a non-profit to help people like Matthew, to bring them in and pull them out of the environment that they are in.”

Hickman is grateful for the opportunity to fight, and credits Green family Martial Arts for helping him stay out of trouble. 

Recently, Hickman had thoughts of giving up on fighting, but the persistence of Green and the members of the gym helped motivate him to continue pressing forward.

“The team has stood behind me when no one else would,” Hickman said. “The coaches and my teammates kept calling me and telling me to keep my head up. They made me want to do better. I don’t want to let my team down, my family down or my kids. I want to be a better person.”

Hickman now sees a future, thanks to organized fighting. Staying on the right path and out of trouble, as well as being a good father, are Hickman’s new goals in life.

With the Final Round Championships Fight Night 18 coming in May, Hickman will again feel like the people’s champ and winning the crowd over, But this is just the first step in his life towards his ultimate goal of being a professional fighter.

“I wanna go professional, treat my family well, live in a fat house and get paid real well through training and discipline,” Hickman said. “In a couple of years or so I would like to go to the UFC and get into ground fighting. Muay Thai is ok, but I need to learn to control myself on the ground a little more.”