Cathal Pendred: I feel like I’m putting on the green jersey every time I fight

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Cathal Pendred is in jovial spirit ahead of his UFC debut at 170 lbs, a weight that he has previously held a world title at, coming off his spectacular come-from-behind win over Mike King at UFC Dublin.

Pendred, who has always wanted to fight as often as possible, revealed that he is looking to go 3-0 under the UFC banner before for the turn of the year.

“I feel like I’ve got a good bit of momentum from my performance in Dublin so I’m happy that I’ll be rolling out as soon as possible now in Sweden. The main thing for me was, because I had such a long lay off after the TUF series, I wanted to have two fights before Christmas after Dublin.

“I want to be 3-0 in UFC at the start of 2015 and establish myself a figure in the UFC’s welterweight division. This fight sets me right on target.”

Two of the most prosperous emerging nations in terms of MMA, when Pendred meets Gasan Umalatov in Stockholm on October 4 it will also represent an international clash between Ireland and Russia, something the Dubliner believes will motivate him even more.

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“I didn’t think about the two nations thing, but Russia are definitely a nation that had been making waves in UFC. Now with Conor and after UFC Dublin we’re showing that Ireland is a force to be reckoned with too.

“I’m always delighted to represent the country especially now on the world’s biggest stage. I do it with honour and pride, I might not go out there with a green jersey on, but I feel like I do. I’ll be going out there and fighting tooth and nail to get another big win for the Irish.”

The former Cage Warriors welterweight champion also commented on one of the main reasons he wanted to turn professional in the sport – travelling:

“I think one of the perks of being a martial artist is that I get to do my job all around the world. I want to take advantage of that, I want to fight everywhere – all over America, Asia, Australia – I want to see these places, experience different cultures and meet new fans.

“After I win this fight, America will probably be the next step. As I said, I want to fight twice before Christmas and after I win this the perfect time to get back in would be mid December, there’s two shows in America around then. So I’m hoping for an American UFC debut before the end of the year.”

A lot of people suffer with their weight cuts when moving down a division but the Irishman is adamant that his “scientific approach” will allow him to make the 170 lbs weight limit with little hesitation.

He said: “For most people coming down from middleweight it would be difficult to be honest with you. I’m very meticulous about my weight cut. I studied science in college and that’s the way I approach it.

“Everyday when I wake up the first thing that I do is go take a piss and then I weigh myself and then I write my weight down in a journal. I’ve done that for the last seven or eight fights at 170.

“So, for example, I woke up this morning and weighed myself, then I looked back to make sure I was at a similar weight the same distance out from another fight at 170. I’m just as light as I was for the Che Mills fight, so I’m right on target.”

Pendred has shown a whole new skillset in his last outing with Mike King, his TUF performances and as far back as June 2013 in his bout against Che Mills. Now, considering himself “a complete martial artist”, the former Schools rugby star is more excited than ever to showcase his ability at his preferred weight class.

“A confident fighter is a dangerous fighter and I’m very confident at the moment. I’m a complete martial artist now. Having been up at middleweight, I have even more confidence in myself and I’m going to use that to put on an unbelievable performance on October 4.

“I want to announce myself to the world, people will know I’m a welterweight to look out for. I want everyone to take notice – UFC, the officials and the other fighters in the division.”

Pendred has reiterated his belief that he can finish Umalatov in every department since the announcement of their fight, but he seems particularly confident in his grappling ability since banking his first submission win at UFC Dublin.

“My submission game has been improving for a long time and it was great that I was able to show that to the world. Before the Mike King fight I don’t think I’d ever fought a guy that I thought I had an edge on when it came to submissions, but I really feel like I’m better than Gasan Umalatov in that department and that’s his strength.

“I can finish this fight everywhere. I have a whole arsenal of submissions I can use to stop this fight and I’m very confident that I can stop this fight on the feet or on the ground,” he said.

@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.