Cathal Pendred on an awkward face off with Montano and his main card debut at UFC 188

cathalpendredbostonscrum

Cathal Pendred will look to go 4-0 inside the Octagon at UFC 188 on June 13 when he faces off with Augusto ‘Dodger’ Montano in Mexico City. Set to make his UFC main card debut at the event the Dubliner has a few more media obligations that usual, one of which forced him to leave Ireland on St Patrick’s Day.

Although Pendred has previously cited the large amount of travel his occupation requires as one of the perks, this time around the 2005 Senior Cup winner missed the tenth anniversary of his team’s triumph due to his visit to the city that will host UFC 188.

“I spent the whole of Paddy’s Day on a plane,” claimed Pendred. “I flew from Dublin to Washington on Paddy’s Day morning, I was there for a couple of hours and then I flew on to Mexico City and it was 10 pm when I arrived.

“Usually I’d just meet up with a few friends. I would’ve went to see my old school, Belvedere, they were in the Senior Cup final that day too. I would’ve definitely went down and watched that match. I missed out on the whole day, all the festivities, but I’ll make up for it next year.

“It was the ten year anniversary of when my team won the Cup too, so we were all going to meet up before the final and have a few drinks. It’s a shame I missed that, but you’ve got to put yourself in these positions if you’re going to have a lifestyle like this.”

Fighting on his opponent’s home turf for the first time, Pendred insisted that he has had nothing but positive experiences so far in Montano’s back yard.

He said: “There was no rough reception at all, everybody over here has been unbelievably nice to me. I’ve met my opponent and he seems to be a very nice guy too, very professional. Tomorrow there is a press conference and a little media day so I’m sure I’ll get more of a feel for it then.

“I’d say when I stand up there face to face with my opponent, that’s the time when the fans are going to probably boo. Like I’ve said before, it’s to be expected, there’s nothing personal to it at all. I’ll enjoy it if anything.”

The former Cage Warriors welterweight champion also revealed one of the more awkward moments he has shared with an opponent as UFC forced him to share an interview with Montano as well as making him stare down with his June 13 counterpart for “five minutes” straight.

“I generally do take a bit from facing off with my opponents. You can kind of get an idea of how your opponent is feeling. To be honest, this one was particularly awkward. We were in this dark room together and the same interviewer was interviewing us at the same time.

“So we’re in the same room as each other for about 40 minutes and then they made us kind of face and stare at each other for about five minutes straight. The only sense I got of him was that he was feeling awkward, but sure I was exactly the same myself.

“It was strange to tell you the truth. It feels way more normal when you’re doing it in front of a crowd of people, but with just the two of in the room it was strange. It was very weird.”

Asked whether being in the same room with ‘Dodger’ made him change his answers to some of questions, the Irishman was adamant that he would’ve answered the same whether the Mexican was present or not.

“No at all,” he laughed,” I don’t think he has a great grasp of the English language. I wasn’t too worried about that. I don’t think it would’ve bothered me if he was saying anything bad about me either.”

With the first images surfacing from their first face off, it seemed Montano would hold the size the advantage over Pendred. However, the SBG man claimed that his selection of footwear have been the reason behind him looking shorter than his next opponent.

“I was wearing flip flops and he was wearing shoes so I wouldn’t look into that too much. We’ll be doing another face off today where we’re both wearing shoes so I think that will be a bit more even.

“He looks like a big enough welterweight to be honest, I’d say he cuts a lot f weight. I always think of myself as the cut off point for welterweight – if you’re cutting anymore weight than I am I think you’re cutting into your performance.

“I’m cutting at the optimum level where you can get an advantage and I think anything else past that will take away from your performance. So if he is bigger than me, it certainly won’t bother me,” he said.

pendredmontano

Finally, Pendred spoke about how much it means to him to be featured on the main card of such a big event:

“The fact that it is my first main card fight is in the back of mind, I feel like it is spurring me on a bit more in training and I’m pushing that extra bit more because of that. It is a big occasion for me.

“It will be special event too, I remember watching the first Mexican show. It was unbelievable, it actually really reminded me of the Dublin card but it was an even bigger scale because the arena holds 22,000 people.

“The UFC heavyweight title is up for grabs that night too so I know there are going to be a lot of eyes on it. I really want to turn heads with this performance and shoot my way up through this welterweight division.”

@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.