Alan Philpott: “Wannabe McGregor” Arthur won’t stop the rise of the North

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Alan “The Apprentice” Philpott goes into the biggest fight of his young career on Saturday night when he takes on the unbeaten Ed Arthur at BAMMA 20 for the promotion’s bantamweight world title.

The Next Generation Northern Ireland man admitted that he was taken aback when he first heard the fight would be contested for a world title. However, after having a word with his coach Rodney Moore, he is well aware of the implications a win would have on his career.

“We were told that it would be a British title fight before the news broke,” Philpott explained. “Even at that, it was a huge opportunity for me. I had posted on Facebook that it would be a British title fight, and then BAMMA contacted me and said it was for the big one. I was like ‘holy shit.’

“I sat down with Rodney and talked about it, we both agreed that this could be beginning of something big for me. Rodney has brought me up the whole way and if I’m smart about this I can go a long way in the sport.”

The Ballymena man believes he has gotten his head screwed over the last year. Saturday night will mark a year since Philpott failed to make weight for his scheduled bout with UFC veteran Leigh Remedios at Cage Contender 18. The fight never went ahead, and for a while Philpott didn’t know if fighting was for him at all. Now, 12 months later, ‘The Apprentice’ feels it is the perfect time for him to make a name for himself.

“I think it’s a good time for me to announce myself as a force on the European scene. Last year when the UFC was coming to Dublin a lot of people were saying I should’ve been on that card. Obviously, if I had been asked to fight I would’ve taken the opportunity with both hands, but honestly, I don’t think I was ready for it,” he said.

“Now that I think about it, this weekend will be exactly a year after I missed weight for the Cage Contender title fight with Leigh Remedios. My whole life has changed since that happened. Honestly I didn’t know what I was going to do after that happened.

“I was low, it took the life out of me when that happened. I had never missed weight before, I know I’m young, but when that happened I really didn’t think that the sport was for me.

“I took a break and Rodney didn’t coddle me and tell me everything was alright. He let me know that I had made a mistake. He told me if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. Since then I’ve kept my head down. I’ve had two good wins since that incident and now this has come up, I’m ready to show everyone what I’m made of.”

Philpott’s signing with BAMMA represents a big opportunity for him. While a lot of his southern peers were given pride of place on Cage Warriors cards, the Rodney Moore charge felt he was only offered short notice fights by the promotion.

Although CWFC eventually did offer him a contract, given the current European landscape, Philpott claimed he would be “kicking himself” had he signed on the dotted line for them based on the situation he is now in with BAMMA.

He said: “I feel like BAMMA are giving me a good chance to showcase my skills. I had two fights for Cage Warriors, one was a last minute call up a week after I fought Richie Edgeworth. Everybody was telling me to look out for Kris Edwards’ ground game, I had hurt my back before that fight and all, but I still came out with the win.

“Edwards was in Fighters Only magazine the month before we fought, they said he would be the next UK fighter to make it to UFC. It was a big win for me and I thought Cage Warriors might have offered me a contract after that fight, but they never did.

“Later on they did offer something but Rodney felt we were better off staying freelance. There were a lot of shows going on, contracts were still a relatively new thing, but I never really felt like I got a good chance off Cage Warriors.

“Maybe it was because I didn’t take a few short notice fights, but I felt like that’s all they were offering me. I had already done that for them and I wanted to get a fight with a proper camp, but they didn’t want to give me that opportunity.

“Everybody was hearing things about BAMMA and what they were planning do, even before they came back. I was interested straightaway, and honestly, had I signed for Cage Warriors that time I would be kicking myself. I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in now if I had signed for them. If BAMMA does what they say they’re going to do, it’s going to be big.”

When the subject of his opponent Arthur was broached Philpott maintained that the Englishman might talk a good game, but he will be found out when the bell rings at the Barclaycard Arena.

“He just wants to be McGregor, he’s a wee wannabe. He’s trying to be something he’s not, it’s all happening too fast for him. He’s good, I’ll give him his dues, he is good. He’ll give me a good fight you know, he’s tough, but he needs to be a little bit smarter,” claimed Philpott.

“I’m a mouthpiece. The more he mouths off to me, I’ll give it straight back to him but I know I’m getting into his head, and he can’t get into mine. I can’t wait to prove myself while shutting this guy up. It’s a perfect situation for me. Rodney and Derek Morrison have me in the best shape I can possibly be in, so I’m grateful for all of their work in the lead up to this fight.

“I’m going to break him down in the first. He’s going to come at me and I’m going to be able to pick him off. I’ve shown that in my recent fights, I’m having a lot of success letting lads come on to me and countering. If I can do that for the first round, I’ll step up my pace in the second and take him out.

“I’ve never been in a boring fight whether I win or lose. I think I’ll frustrate him to the point that he’ll just do what Liam James did and walk on to me. I’m stronger and more high level that anyone he’s fought. I’m more experienced than anyone he’s fought, I’m probably more experienced than anyone in his gym.”

Finally, Philpott outlined how his ultimate goal with the promotion would be to bring an event to Northern Ireland which would hopefully allow the scene in to flourish.

“I would love to bring BAMMA to Northern Ireland and I think that’s definitely a possibility. I’d love a fight in the south as well, I’ve never got the chance to do that, but I would love to. Northern Ireland though, that’s where I want to bring BAMMA.

“Cage Warriors did a lot of shows in the south and that helped McGregor, the SBG guys and the Ryano lads. That was their thing. There’s me and Cooke already signed up and there is loads more talent up north. I think if we were to get a good card like BAAMA would bring, maybe to the Odyssey or something like that, it could do wonders for the scene up here.

“Chris Fields is signed up too, it would only be a two hour journey for him and he’s got a lot of fans up here. There are a lot of unsigned guys that would be able to make the trek up. I’m sure the Irish fans would love to come up and north and see a show.

“This island is just full of talent, north, south, east and west. It’s only since guys like McGregor and Norman have got to the big stage that people have been made aware of it. We’re not fucking about over here and we’ve got serious talent,” he said.

@PetesyCarroll

Owner/Editor of SevereMMA.com. Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.