This weekend UFC 188 takes place in Mexico City. Headlining the card is the heavyweight title unification bout between interim champ Fabricio Werdum and the real champ Cain Velasquez, who is returning from a long injury layoff.
Also on the card is Dubliner Cathal ‘The Punisher’ Pendred. The SBG man and team-mate to Conor McGregor is looking to push his record to a perfect 4-0 with a win or Mexican fighter Augusto Montano.
With an undefeated record since debuting last July at UFC Dublin, you would think Pendred would be talking mainly about his upcoming fight. However, for many his last win against Sean Spencer was controversial and probably wasn’t helped by commentator Joe Rogan in the immediate aftermath.
Cathal faced Spencer at UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Siver in Boston in January. Statistically, Pendred landed more strikes and completed four takedowns during the three rounds. However, popular opinion was Spencer, who dropped Pendred with hard strikes should have got his arm raised.
Once the fight was done the camera view switched to Octagonside where Joe Rogan was due to interview UFC president Dana White. Viewers watched as both men stood in silence. Rogan finally breached the silence with ‘I don’t know what to say folks, I just watched a man get robbed’.
Rogan’s opinion seemed to gather steam to the point where Cathal has spent a lot of time looking back at his last fight instead of looking forward to his next fight.
Even in fight week the focus seems to be on Boston rather than Mexico and naturally its beginning to wear on Pendred – “I’m a bit sick of it at this stage. I always look forward, that’s the direction I’m going and that’s the way I look. It’s also annoying because it looks like I’m whining about things; I’m getting asked the questions, but some of the interviews look like I’m still bringing these things up.”
But once the microphones are turned off and the pen and paper is put away the Dublin native returns to the task at hand. Once the interviews are over Cathal wants to do his talking in the Octagon.
“All the other variables I’m not concentrating on. All I’m in control of is turning up on Saturday and putting on the performance I owe to myself. I don’t believe I’ve showed up in the Octagon and shown the best of myself or the shown fighter I was before the UFC. I think that says a lot that I had three fights and haven’t been at my best but I’ve still won. When I win this weekend I’ll go 4-0 in the UFC in less than a year and that will speak for itself” explained Cathal.
Montao boasts a record of 15 wins and only one loss, with all his wins coming by way of a stoppage (ten knockouts and 5 submissions). Pendred knows he’s facing a really tough opponent but rather than consider the local fighter a threat, the SBG man is viewing this fight as a massive opportunity to springboard him to the next level.
“He seems to be a wild and aggressive fighter which plays into my hands. I know this guy is going to be coming forward… its gonna make for an exciting fight and I know he’s going put himself in bad situations with me. I’ve definitely got the better wrestling and a better ground game. His stand up looks aggressive but there’s nothing I’d be worried about.
Focusing on the future Pendred is looking forward to some big game hunting if he can get his hand raised on Saturday – “I’ll be 4-0 after Saturday and I believe, worst case scenario, at 4-0 I’ll be looking at a top 15 opponent. There are rumours of a Dublin show later in 2015 so that would be unbelievable to get a top 15 opponent in Dublin.”