Fadipe ahead of EFC Africa title fight: “I’m bringing the belt back to Ireland”

Since arriving in South Africa two weeks ago Henry “Herculeez” Fadipe has been subject to a lot of media attention and fanfare in the lead up to his title defence tomorrow night against Dino “The Lion” Bagattin.

Speaking with SevereMMA.com, Fadipe claimed he has used the attention as a motivational tool for his showdown with the South African champion.

“I got here two weeks ago and it’s been awesome,” said the Ryoshin MMA fighter. “The first week was fine I could keep my head down but this week has been a lot busier with media things. I just finished an interview with a big radio station, there’s been lots of things like that and the fans have been great.

“With all the hype leading up to the event I expect to perform even better. It really motivates me and I know I’m going to perform to the best of my ability on the night.”

Although the Dublin based welter weight will be without a previous travelling companion, Ayo Daly, after the amateur champion switched camps to Team Ryano, he maintained he was still surrounded by familiar faces away from home.

“I have the same people as I always have had with me, but obviously Ayo won’t be here this time. It’s not changed that much, I’ve still got Tony and Chris here and I’ve been preparing at a friend’s gym over here. I’ve got plenty of good training partners that have kept me sharp,” he said.

Fadipe’s evolution as a mixed martial artist has been plain to see in his last few outings, for this fight he revealed that he has focused on his cardio to counteract the engine of Bagattin.

“I’ve been focusing a lot on my cardio, that’s one of Dino’s strengths. I want to be able to stay strong throughout the whole fight if needs be. I’ve still got the x-factor though, I know I can finish anyone but working on my cardio is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Given Fadipe’s back and forth feuds via social media with Bagattin, many expected fireworks when the two finally met each other face to face. However, having visited the champion in his gym it seems the Irish fighter has more respect for his opponent than ever.

“I’ve seen him a couple of times over here, I’ve been over at his gym and everything. I have to say he’s a decent guy, he’s a professional but the same can’t be said for his team. They’ve been really childish with the way they go about things but Dino is a professional,” he admitted.

Just hours out from his date with destiny Fadipe expressed what having his hand raised in the championship bout would mean to him.

“Winning this title would mean everything to me. Taking an international title would push me to a different level, it’s a big step up and I know it will open a lot of new doors for me. I have to win.

“I’m bringing the belt back to Ireland. I don’t care where the fight goes, I’ll stand up, sit down, jump up and down – I don’t care. All I know is that my hand will be raised and I’ll be the new welterweight champion.”

 

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.