Cathal Pendred On Motivation, Training And Why He's Ready For The UFC

You might have noticed that lately the previously ignored sport of mixed martial arts has had somewhat of a popularity boost in Ireland as of late. Newspapers are talking about this MMA thing, radio stations are interviewing certain fighters and educating themselves on the sport. It's an exciting time for any Irish MMA fan.

One of the catalysts for this Irish MMA rise is one Cathal Pendred, the Cage Warriors welterweight champion. Born in Boston, bred in Dublin, he is one of the finest fighters in his weight class not only in Europe, but according to him, in the world.

"I love the fact that my weight class is the most stacked and I look at that class I honestly think I would walk in there and beat seventy of them. And the top ten guys I feel I could beat in the next year. I feel I could beat the champion in two years. I just need to get my foot in the door and start running through these guys."

Cathal is a motivated man. He knows exactly what he wants and isn't afraid to ask for it, to fight for it. He's only 25 years old, but at times has the demeanour of a man that won't wait any longer, not someone who is around four or five years away from his prime.

"My main goal now is to get to the UFC," he declared. "I can’t make a living off what I’m making in Cage Warriors. People think you’re the champion, you’re making a good living but you’re not. I’d be making more money if I was to give up training and work at a McDonald’s drive-thru. People thought after my last fight when I got on the mic [asking for the UFC] that I was being disrespectful but I wasn’t at all. They want that to happen. They want these guys to go on to the UFC. I want it as much as everyone because I’ve put so much into this. And I think I can progress even further once I’m actually in the UFC and I’m making better money and don’t have to worry about bills and that and can just focus on my training."


His training takes place full time at SBG HQ on the Long Mile Road, though he teaches once a week at SBG's recently opened premises on Brookfield Terrace, Blackrock. Training without an opponent on the horizon though, isn't ideal.

“I found it a bit difficult now. I hadn’t before now. Before I’d still be training away, training hard. It’s just been frustrating with the whole UFC thing, being told I was in," he admitted, cutting a frustrated figure. "And then there was the World Series of Fighting contract offer and thinking ‘this is great’ and that too was taken away from me. So lately I’ve kinda been driving to the gym thinking ‘f*** this’. Certain things aren’t going my way but it’s part of the game. And you know they say a lot of people give up just before they make it. I’ve just to stick at it and know I'm on the road there and in touching distance. But as I say, once I’m in there I’m on the route to where I wanna be. I feel I’m just at a bit of a road block.”

As of the last few weeks, training in SBG has had a heavy focus on preparing McGregor for his fight this weekend with Max Holloway in Boston. And Cathal's been more than impressed with how he's coming along.

"It’s his last week of sparring before he heads off to Boston, and we were just making sure we were fresh going in to spar rounds with him. He’s looking unbelievable. He’s lookin’ unstoppable".

While Conor's future looks solid as long as he keeps knocking people out in the UFC, Cathal's is a tad more complicated and uncertain. So much so that the CWFC champ is taking his future into his own hands and flying over to Indianapolis in two week's time to try out for season 19 of the UFC's reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. Between contracts disputes, false dawns and broken promises, Pendred is bringing the fight to them and will attempt to fight for a UFC contract.

But what's the best advice he's ever received over the years, and what would Cathal Pendred pass on to others who are hesitant in making that leap into the world of combat sport or any sports for that matter?

"I learn more in my life from lessons I learnt myself, personal experiences," he explained. "Best lesson I learnt was when I became a teenager and played rugby (for Belvedere College) and really excelled at it and realised that if you really put everything into something, you get a lot out of it. That stuck with me, the self-belief I’ve grown from that. I just knew in my head when I started that I wanted to be a UFC champion, even though people laughed at me. And now I’m a very successful professional fighter, I’m the best at my weight division in Europe. It’s just what you believe in yourself."

"I know loads of people are tentative cos they think they’re gonna go down to a gym and spar me or Conor and they couldn’t be further from the truth. You won’t even spar for the first months, it will be mostly technique. All I will say to anyone thinking about doing it, is stop thinking about it and just do it. And I guarantee you’ll love it."

His attitude and outlook rubbed off on this writer, who's back training in Legends MMA in Bray. So why not go for it? Irish mixed martial arts is at the precipice of sky-rocketing right now, and there's never been a more exciting time to get involved on the ground floor and ride the wave.

For Cathal, you can only root for him to achieve the greatness that surely awaits him, and as we all know we could do with more sporting success on these shores.

Keith Fitzpatrick
Article written by
Your College Times Sports Editor. DBS Journalism student. Video game afiocionado. Bray head. Perennial putter-offer-till-next-weeker.

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