Friday 22 November 2019

The Irish took Boston, now it’s time for Sweden as Paul Redmond makes UFC debut

Fergus Ryan

As the dust settles after UFC Boston, Irish MMA fans have a lot to be proud of. Paddy Holohan and Cathal Pendred edge closer to the vaunted top 15 with wins. Norman Parke, though he lost a hard fought three-rounder, proved he belongs fighting the top tier fighters in the UFC.

And of course, Conor McGregor secured the title fight he’s been talking about since he landed in the UFC. It appears May 23rd in Las Vegas at UFC 187 has been pencilled in for his showdown with Jose Aldo for the featherweight belt.

'Conor McGregor really doesn't care what you think of him'
'Conor McGregor really doesn't care what you think of him'

Giving us no time to pause for breath, two more Irish MMA charges are in Sweden this weekend to continue the ‘Irish Takeover’ in the UFC. Neil Seery was the third man into the UFC and fights for the third time in the world’s premier Mixed Martial Arts promotion. Seery is in the opening bout in Stockholm against undefeated American, Chris Beal.

Neil put on a dominant performance beating Phil Harris over three rounds at UFC Dublin. He was then scheduled to fight in Australia last November but was forced out due to a broken rib. Chomping at the bit to get back in the Octagon, the Finglas native is pretty clear on his intentions for his next fight: “I’m gonna go out and do what I always do, I’m gonna march forward and try and knock Chris out.”

The other Irish fighter in action is Neil’s Team Ryano club-mate, Paul Redmond. Redmond is taking this fight with Mirsad Bektic as a short-notice replacement due to an injury to the original opponent. Not only will the Donaghmede man be making his UFC debut, he’ll be doing it in a weight class lower than he normally would fight. Normally a lightweight (70kgs/155lbs), ‘Redser’ will need to get down to featherweight (66kgs/145lbs) for this one.

Seery also made his UFC debut as a short-notice replacement and we asked if he had any advice for his team-mate. The reply was pretty straightforward: “Go out with a smile on your face and perform to your best, go out to win and believe you deserve to be there.… you’re picked for a reason. He went through numerous opponents in Cage Warriors finishing them all, so get out there and enjoy it.”

Redmond became a standout for the Cage Warriors promotion fighting eight times and finishing seven opponents. Had the UFC not snapped him up he would have been fighting for Cage Warriors titles in 2015. Though he’s risen to the top of his sport, such progress wasn’t on his mind when he started.

“I just started MMA as a way to get fit and lose a bit of weight, I was a bit chunky back then. I found a gym that was a stone’s throw away from the house and it turned out to be one of the top two gyms in the country,” explains Redmond.

After a shaky start to his career, perseverance and hard work has taken him to where he is today – “I took my first fight after six months training and got choked out in about the first 15 seconds of the first round. Its not in my character to stop or shy away from things so I took another fight a few weeks later and won that and just took it from there.”

While there’ll be plenty of distractions like the almost 40,000 people in attendance, the attention of the world’s MMA media and the bright lights of the big show, Redser plans on staying focused and performing as he has in every other event he’s fought on.

“I’m gonna go out there and fight the way I always do. I went out on small shows in the middle of Wales in front of 100 people and jumped on crazy submissions and I did the same in Cage Warriors. I fight the same way all the time so hopefully the UFC and the fans like that.”

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