Cathal Pendred signs with the UFC; faces Mike King at UFC in Dublin

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Despite his journey on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Edgar vs Team Penn coming to an end after suffering a narrow split decision loss to Eddie Gordon in the semi-finals, Cathal Pendred has signed a ten fight UFC contract that will see him debut against fellow TUF 19 contestant Mike King in Dublin’s 02 Arena on Saturday July 19 at middleweight.

Although opinion was divided as to who won the fight, with UFC president Dana White even siding with the Dubliner, Pendred claimed he was happy that the decision went against him as he will now make his debut in front of his hometown crowd.

“It wasn’t that one-sided,” the Irishman said of his final TUF bout, “but it came down to the third round and I thought that I did enough to win it. Obviously one judge felt the same, two didn’t, and in the end it came down to one person’s opinion.

“In the end this has worked out better than what could’ve happened because I went in there with the aim to get into the final and had that been the case I’d be making my UFC debut in Vegas at The Ultimate Fighter finale in two weeks time.

“Instead I’m making my UFC debut at the fastest selling UFC event ever, in my hometown with three of my team mates. This is ten times better than what I wished for.”

Signing with the world’s flagship MMA promotion has been top of Pendred’s wish list for over two years and the former Cage Warriors welterweight champion has no plans to rest on his laurels after signing on the dotted line.

“If you’ve been on The Ultimate Fighter you get a ten fight contract. It is a ten fight contract but may as well be for four fights because if you’re not performing UFC can cut you at any stage.

“It makes no difference to me how many fights are on the contract, I have the same goals I’ve always had. To be honest, it’s long time coming, maybe too long. I’ve been ready for this for a long time and I’m looking forward to going in there.

“A lot of guys make it to the UFC, they put a string of wins together to get in and that’s all they wanted to do, just make it to the big show. I’ve been the most dominant welterweight on the European scene for the last two years.

“I’ve beaten more UFC veterans than anyone else. I’ve got four of them on my resume. I’m so confident, this has come at the perfect time and I couldn’t feel better about it.”

As for his July 19 opponent, although he feels he knows King’s style well, Pendred will concentrate on his own game in the lead up to the showdown.

“It’s one of those things where I am familiar enough with his style but I’m not going to focus on that because he could come out there in July and be a completely different fighter. I’m preparing for everything and mainly focusing on myself.

“I’m going to win that’s all I know. I don’t like making predictions because ultimately how the fight ends depends on what mistakes he makes. If he leaves his neck out there I’m going to choke him and if he throws a punch a little flat footed and leaves his chin high he’s going to get put to sleep.”

@PetesyCarroll

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.