The Lost Interviews – Cathal Pendred Reflects on Cage Warriors 47; Aiming For Title Fight In Near Future

By Harry Williams

In June 2012, Cathal Pendred entered Cage Warriors 47 for his biggest contest yet versus UFC veteran David Bielkheden in his campaign for Cage Warriors welterweight gold. This was a bout that went on to be one of the best European MMA fights of 2012. This archival piece is the next continuum in ‘The Lost Interviews,’ written circa 2012-2013 by our man Harry Williams. 

This time, Pendred reminisces on the June slugfest in a very different time in his life, battling studying for finals as well as balancing a promising and flourishing fight career. Cathal continued his unbeaten streak for another four years, capturing the CWFC welterweight gold from dominant champion Gael Grimaud, defending it successfully and signing with the UFC, which will be featured soon.

This interview was first posted on YourMMA.com in July of 2012, which changed hands in 2015. Fortunately, this interview and many others have been recovered over seven years later and, with the approval of the former website, we are redocumenting this booming time in Irish MMA.

On Saturday 2nd June, Cage Warriors held their 47th event at the Helix Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. The card was fantastic, but one fight that stood out from them all was between the hometown boy, Cathal ‘The Punisher’ Pendred (10-2) and former UFC fighter David Bielkheden (17-11). Leading up to the fight, Cathal was extremely busy with so much to do in so little time but that all made the victory that much more sweeter.

“Training was great but very difficult,” confessed Pendred. “I was doing my final year exams in university. I actually had my last exam on the Saturday before the fight in the Helix. So between training like crazy for the fight, dieting, studying and doing my thesis, it was probably the most challenging 8 weeks of my life so that win means more to me than anyone could imagine!

“I’m always trying to improve everything in my game,” the Irishman stated. “At this level you can’t afford to be weak in any area, and my goal as a fighter is to be world class in every area. 

“Having said that, I knew Bielkheden is a BJJ black belt for a good few years, so I was training a bit more BJJ. As well as having one of the best MMA teams in Europe, SBG also has one of the best BJJ teams with some of the best competitors so I had plenty of monsters to roll with, plus my head coach, John Kavanagh isn’t too bad at the auld ground fighting stuff.”

Pendred still thinks about the little mistakes and the times he could have finished David. But overall, the welterweight fighter is delighted with his performance.  

“Considering the circumstances, I was delighted to come away with a win against a guy as experienced and dangerous as Bielkheden,” beamed Cathal. “I did drop him a few times and think I could have pushed more to finish the fight with my ground and pound, but he was tough as hell and I probably showed him a little too much respect on the ground. I dominated for the entire fight and a lapse in concentration in the last round let him back into the fight. I could go on; I’m my biggest critic. At the end of the day, I got a great win. I showed improvements in my game and I put on a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance so I’m very happy!”

The fact that Irishman got to fight in his own backyard made his performance much more spectacular as the fans were behind him all the way. It is now a memory he will forever treasure.  

“It was unbelievable,” happily stated the 24-year-old. “There’s a reason Dana White said the Irish fans are the best pound for pound in the world. They’re nuts! It was electric in The Helix that night. I’ll never forget it.”

Even though the fight was only two weeks ago, Cathal hasn’t took any time off. He’s already back in the gym working to become a better fighter. Pendred is also hoping to get a shot at the welterweight title.   

“At the moment, I’m just back in the gym working on getting better,” proclaimed Cathal. “I’m waiting to hear exactly what’s next. Hopefully something big. I’m waiting to get the nod for a crack at the Gael Grimaud, who has the Cage Warriors welterweight strap.  Since Cage Warriors was brought back to life by Graham Boylan, no other welterweight has fought as much as I have for them and I’m unbeaten on the promotion. I have to be next in line for a shot at that belt!”

To bring this interview to a close, ‘The Punisher’ had a few things to add.

“As always, a big thanks to John Kavanagh. I’d like to give a shout out to all my team mates, we’re a very close team and I think that’s one of the reasons for our success. Thanks to everyone else that I train with in SBG, big shout out to all the BJJ badasses! The Irish Strength Institute look after our strength and conditioning, diet, physio, and general wellbeing. I wouldn’t survive the training if it wasn’t for those guys. Also, a big thanks to Big Shots Sports Nutrition for hooking us up with supplements. 

Lastly I’d like to thank everyone who supports me; my family, my friends, the people who follow my tweets, like my statuses, and the folks who come to my fights and scream their guts out!”