Cathal Pendred on TUF: “I’m going in there for a contract, that’s it.”

Tired of playing the waiting game for a lucrative UFC contract, Cage Warriors Welterweight champion Cathal Pendred tells Tom Rooney why he decided to take matters into his own hands and apply as a contestant for The Ultimate Fighter in order to achieve his goal of becoming a UFC champion.

When Cathal Pendred stopped Che Mills at Cage Warriors 55 back in June, the vast majority of the MMA community assumed they were looking at the UFC’s latest Irish recruit, but a contact offer never materialised and the ‘The Punisher’ became restless. Deflated by a lack of challenging fights in Europe, he got proactive.

“There’s no fight out there for me in Europe; each fight I like to fight a guy better than the last. The Paul Daley fight was it, there’s no one else out there, I’m just waiting to get into the UFC, so I’m going to have to force my way in there through the house.

“I’m a fighter, I like to fight and I want to keep moving forward. Since the Che Mills fight I’ve just been sitting around waiting for the phone call or waiting for something to come up, it’s something to keep me going forward.”

Pendred was told through his management by the UFC that a contract offer was not forthcoming due to the inordinately large amount of fighters in the 170lbs division-there are currently 80- forcing his hand to an extent. Having resisted entering the reality TV show up to this point, his decision to go forward for the try-outs in Las Vegas on August 27th was a swift one, coming after a brief consultation with his coach John Kavanagh last weekend.

“I’d been saying for a while I wouldn’t go down the TUF route; I would have done it two years ago, definitely. I got a text message from John Kavanagh on Saturday night just saying what would I think about going for it. At the time it hadn’t even crossed my mind, but when he said it to me I thought I’m going to do it.”

Assuming Pendred makes it into the house, his reputation will precede him and, as Europe’s finest welterweight, there will be a large target on his back. As always, he remains unfazed by any external factors and is utterly focused on the task at hand.

“No one puts more pressure on me than me. I don’t care about my reputation or being Cage Warriors champion; that’s all irrelevant, once I’m in the house there, it’s going to be 16 or 32 guys, who are going to be very hungry; it’s MMA and anything can happen. I’m going to be going at these guys from the start, not giving them an inch to breathe, and not being complacent at all, because that is the most dangerous thing I could do.”

The thoughts of entering the circus that is reality TV are also not an issue for the SGB exponent, and he looks forward to prospect of broadening his skillset under the tutelage of the yet to be named coaches.

“I enjoy training with new people, regardless of me getting the best coaching around; you can still pick up new things, that’s just a fact.  I don’t know who the coaches are going to be, but it could be someone like Cain Velasquez and that would be amazing.

“I’m going over there to get a UFC contract the hard way because I’m sick of waiting for one. I’m not going in there to make friends, to make up the numbers or be a TV star; I’m going in there for a contract, that’s it.”

By Tom Rooney – @oldmanrooney

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.

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