Under fire Paul Redmond prepared to fight on North Pole

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It’s a well-known, unwritten law in the UFC that any fighter who loses three consecutive bouts tends to be deemed surplus to requirements. Countless athletes around the globe are chomping at the bit for their shot at the big-time, so places on the roster of the world’s foremost MMA promotion are at a premium.

Irish featherweight Paul Redmond has come up short in his first two outings with UFC and, understandably, has serious concerns over his job security, particularly because there has been zero contact from the promotion since he last appeared under their banner. With that being said, the 28-year-old remains adamant competing at such a high level is not beyond him.

“I know myself how hard I train and that I am capable of beating these guys. I’ve just had an unfortunate run. I don’t make excuses; if I get cut by the UFC tomorrow, it’s my own fault.

“I thought I would have been cut by this stage, but I still haven’t heard anything if I get another shot I’m not going to go out there and try and scrape a win on points just to be safe. I going to run towards whoever it is and try and get them out of there in the quickest and best way possible,” he said.

When Redmond first got that long-awaited call from the UFC, inviting him to compete on the sport’s biggest stage, circumstances tempered what should have been a joyful moment. Last January, on less than two weeks’ notice, he was asked to face the undefeated Mirsad Bektic, whose original opponent had dropped out due to injury.

The request came with a substantial caveat; the bout would be contested at featherweight (145 lbs.) the class below lightweight (155lbs.), where Redmond had hitherto fought for the entirety of his career. With some trepidation the Dublin native decided to try and cut a whopping 36lbs in just 12 days. An endeavour that now seems to have been ill-fated from the beginning.

Having come in at 149lbs at the previous day’s weigh-ins, an infraction which cost him 20 pc of his purse, he faced Bektic at UFC on Fox 14 in Stockholm, Sweden on January 24. Understandably, he was severely drained of energy, and Bektic easily man-handled him en route to a unanimous decision win.  Notably, Redmond makes no excuses for his lack lustre performance.

 

Prior to his match-up with Bektic, Redmond had signed a four-fight deal with the UFC and, after coming so short in his debut, he took the decision to give up his job as plumber to fully dedicate himself to fighting. Despite his travails in Sweden, he also deemed it prudent to remain at featherweight, and modified his daily diet accordingly.

He received his next assignment in June; he would face local favourite Robert Whiteford at UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, for the promotion’s first venture on to Scottish soil. Despite having optimum time to prepare, the Team Ryano MMA exponent was undone by a clubbing left hand just over three minutes into the first round. A brief desolation ensued.

“I felt good in Scotland and weight cut went well for me. I trained my ass off and worked with Joseph Clifford for my strength & conditioning and nutrition.  I thought I had Robert (Whiteford) on the back foot until I got clipped.

“I got really down for about a week and a half after the fight, but I usually do with any loss. I had a little break away with my girlfriend and reflected on a few things. The only way you can pick yourself back up is to get back in the gym. I pride myself on being an exciting fighter but I just haven’t got to show it yet in the UFC.”

The UFC return to Dublin on for UFC FN 77 on October 24, when they will host what is sure to be a sold-event at the 3Arena. And, while he would be more than happy to undertake the most pivotal bout of his career against the backdrop of a baying hometown crowd, at this point Redmond is just hoping for another chance to prove himself. The location is merely incidental.

“I thought for them (UFC) it would be easy to put me on the Dublin card because I only 20 minutes away. But, apparently, they are only sticking five Irish guys on it and as of yesterday four have been signed. I’d love to fight here because of all the mad lunatics would be there. But the way I see it, if they’re keeping me on, I’ll fight on the North Pole.”

Regardless of what the near future holds, he firmly intends to carry on fighting and, like many before him, earn his way back to the top table of world’s fastest growing sport.

“I really hope I don’t get cut, but it’s not the end of the world if I do. Plenty out guys, like Anthony Johnson, come back and do really good. It would be devastating, but if anything it would make me go after it even more.”