Paul McVeigh vacates Bantamweight belt; moving down to Flyweight

Following a prolonged lay-off, Paul McVeigh will finally return to action at Cage Warriors 50 at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday, December 8.McVeigh (18-7-0) hasn’t fought since a decision loss to UFC bantamweight Erik Perez last December and a series of niggling injuries have kept him out of action in the meantime.

However, with Cage Warriors set to visit McVeigh’s hometown of Glasgow for the first time, the 30-year-old is priming himself for his 26th professional bout since his debut way back in 2002.

But Cage Warriors 50 will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the career of Paul McVeigh, with the organisation’s bantamweight champion opting to vacate his title ahead of a planned move to flyweight.

McVeigh, who is also a former CWFC featherweight champion, will keep the old bantamweight belt having held it since September 2004, before successfully defending it on five occasions.

The first of those wins came against current UFC flyweight Phil Harris. McVeigh also holds victories over the likes of Nayeb Hezam, who fights in Bellator this weekend, and top European flyweights Neil Seery and Artemij Sitenkov.

McVeigh’s drop to flyweight won’t happen until 2013, however. His bout at Cage Warriors 50 against a yet-to-be-announced opponent will be contested at a catchweight of 130lbs, as the Dinky Ninjas veteran gradually descends to the 125lbs division.

“The decision to go to flyweight came from a reduction in my doughnut intake,” says McVeigh, who featured on Season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter last year, where he was eliminated by Louis Gaudinot.

“Over the last year I’ve really concentrated on the quality of my nutrition and I’ve started walking around a little lighter.

The cut to bantamweight is no longer a challenge and our weight-cutting protocols have improved, so dropping to flyweight seems to make sense.

“Although I’ll probably be changing my opinion on that when I’m locked in a sauna, dying.”

McVeigh, who originally hails from Northern Ireland, hopes his injury troubles are now behind him as he looks ahead to his Cage Warriors 50 bout in December, which will be his ninth under the CWFC umbrella.

“I’ve been carrying a few injuries that have been deeply annoying and I’ve kept myself busy by coaching the guys at the Griphouse,” he says.

“At one point I was coaching so much, organising training and fight preparation that my own training took a hit.

“But we’ve changed things up a little and I feel that I now have the time to train at a level where I can get back to wrecking boys.”

Cage Warriors 50 will also feature a host of McVeigh’s Dinky Ninjas team-mates at the Griphouse and according to McVeigh, he’ll be ready to put on a show.

“Glasgow’s my town. It’s a very cool city and the people are brilliant maniacs. It’s a great feeling to have the crowd’s support and if you can tap into that mojo you’ll undoubtedly fight better. It’s fair to say that I’ll be able to sell a few tickets as well.

“I’ve won every Cage Warriors bout I’ve ever had and competing in a Cage Warriors event in Glasgow is like double mojo. By December 8, I reckon there would be a few third-world countries that would lack the firepower necessary to kill me.”

Despite being a 10-year veteran of professional MMA, McVeigh is convinced that he’s yet to show his best. He was Cage Warriors’ first champion in both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Could he now achieve the same at flyweight?

He says: “As a team I feel we’ve come a long way in terms of technical development. The gym is a hotbed of ideas at the best of times and I feel we now have the systems and discipline to develop techniques into weapons very quickly.

“Some of the stuff we are nailing in training is real freaky, naughty, and I can’t wait to try some of it in a cage near you.

“Every few months I have a little internal dialogue and ask myself could I kick Paul three months ago’s head in. For the past 12 years the answer has been yes.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had more than a week off since I started so if I wasn’t improving I’d really want my money back. For guys who have seen me fight before get ready for a shock.”

Keep track of CageWarriors on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, updates and ticket information for Cage Warriors 50.

Photo: DollyClew/CageWarriors

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