Monday 5 December 2016

'Worn out' Cathal Pendred to take UFC break until 2016

Tom Rooney

Published 27/10/2015 | 18:40

24 October 2015; Tom Breese, right, in action against Cathal Pendred. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
24 October 2015; Tom Breese, right, in action against Cathal Pendred. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly are Assassin's Creed Syndicate Ambassadors.
Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly are Assassin's Creed Syndicate Ambassadors.

Irish UFC fighter Cathal Pendred has admitted that his gruelling fighting schedule has taken its toll and does not expect to return to action until early 2016.

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When Pendred entered the octagon to face Tom Breese at UFC Fight Night 76 the 3Arena last weekend, he did so for the sixth time in just over a year and the welterweight has decided to take a brief intermission from MMA.

Pendred suffered a brutal first round TKO loss at the hands of the undefeated Breese on the sold out event’s preliminary card and, having been narrowly undone by John Howard at UFC 189 in his previous outing, the 27-year-old is now contemplating successive defeats for the first time in his professional career.

Yet, the fact remains, that the Dubliner has made more UFC appearances since his spectacular debut victory over Mike King at 02 Arena in July 2014 than most of his contemporaries do over a two-year period.

Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly are Assassin's Creed Syndicate Ambassadors.
Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly are Assassin's Creed Syndicate Ambassadors.

What’s more, he emerged victorious in his first four bouts in arguably the most competitive division in the sport.

Just three days since the UFC’s most recent visit to Dublin, Pendred believes the time is right to allow his joints an ample period of recuperation before making a measured return to the mats of SBG Ireland.

“I feel a bit worn out to honest, he said. “Six fights in 15 months; I’m looking for forward to putting the feet up and relaxing until after Christmas.

“I’m a big enough welterweight and it takes its toll just getting down to 170lbs. I picked up a serious injury (two cracked vertebrae) training in Mexico and I didn’t actually know the extent of it until after the John Howard fight.

Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly are Assassin's Creed Syndicate Ambassadors.
Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly are Assassin's Creed Syndicate Ambassadors.

“Between those kinds of things I need to take care of myself a bit better and just get my body in order. You’re demanding a lot of yourself as a professional fighter and I suppose I wasn’t giving my body the respect it deserves and just taking a bit of time between fights.

“I wouldn’t even call it a break because most fighters only fight three or four times a year, so I’m just going to take a week or two off training altogether, and I’ll be back doing bits and pieces up to Christmas. I just won’t be doing anything flat out and then, after the New Year, I’ll start thinking about a date I want to get back in there,” he said.

Clearly deflated by how circumstances unfolded on Saturday, Pendred’s face bore the evidence of Breese’s laser-point assault, while the nasal cadence of his voice betrayed a significantly damaged nose.

For the casual fans, or those not cognisant of the UFC’s unheralded fighters, the sight of Breese dominating the teak-tough Dubliner was a shocking one.

The hulking Birmingham native, who trains with Joe Duffy at Montreal’s famed Tristar Gym, has been lauded by those in the know as one of the sport’s hottest prospects.

Pendred paid homage to his opponent’s skill-set, though admitted to being somewhat caught unawares by what he confronted, given that Breese has spent the better part of the two years largely ensconced in preparation.

“He’s striking was phenomenal,” claimed Pendred. “Every shot did damage; he broke my nose with his first left hand and the second or third left hand he hit me with cut me above the eye and I couldn’t see out of that eye.

“Then he threw a couple of teeps (kicks) to the body, and I was already finding it hard to breath up my nose, and he took the wind out of me.

“Credit to him, his striking was on point, and I wasn’t expecting that from him to be honest. One of the disadvantages in terms of a guy like him who wouldn’t have fought that often, maybe two or three times over the last two years, is that he’s obviously come on leaps and bounds in his training and I wasn’t really expecting that.”

It took Pendred over two months to realise the extent of the damage he done to his back while training in Mexico for his victory over Augusto Montano in June, which meant he campaigned for the bout with Howard a month later.

Having received treatment, he jumped at the chance of competing again in front of his compatriots though, on reflection, he reckons patriotism may have prevailed over self-preservation.

“It was Dublin, and there was no way I wasn’t going to participate. But I’ve had too many fights in too short a space of time.

“I do this because I love it, but I was kind of going from intense training to intense training and fight after fight, and it was kind of taking the enjoyment out of it.  I’m not making excuses, but had it been any other fight I wouldn’t have fought to be honest,” he said.

Cathal Pendred is an Assassin's Creed Syndicate Ambassador.

Assassins Creed Syndicate is now out on PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and will be available on Windows PC on November 19.

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