Seery on Horiguchi: “I’ll have to make this fight horrible for him”


Neil ‘2 Tap’ Seery had only been in Holland a few hours before posts from his Team Ryano corner man Keith Duffy showed the Irishman was up to his usual mischief in Rotterdam.

After a picture was posted with Seery signing event posters opposite his opponent for Sunday night, Kyogi Horiguchi, another appeared shortly after with the Dubliner beaming with his arm wrapped around the Japanese fighter’s manager.

As he pointed out, Seery sees no need for ill intent before he meets anyone in the Octagon because they will have to fight regardless of their feelings in the lead up to a contest.

“UFC asked me to come down and sign some posters and when I got to the room that they were doing it in, Horiguchi was already in there signing away,” he explained. “When they realized he was already in there they asked me if I wanted to leave, but it makes no difference to me. If we see each other beforehand or not, I’m still gonna be going in to win.

“You know me, I just walk in and shake my opponent’s hand. As I’ve told you before, we’re going to fight either way. Whether we get in each other’s faces or get into a little war of words, all that stuff is irrelevant. I don’t really care about that stuff. I have no problem with that guy or his team, but we’re going to fight. That’s all it comes down to. I don’t really even size people up because at flyweight we’re all midgets anyway.”

The leaping attacks of Horiguchi have proved an impossible task to overcome by anyone under the UFC banner apart from flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who handed him his first loss in the Octagon last year.

While Seery admitted that it is difficult to get anyone to replicate Horiguchi’ style, his training partners in Team Ryano as well as pro boxing gym Celtic Warrior have him as ready as he ever will be. “It’s very hard to get anyone to replicate his style. I do have a lot of training partners between Team Ryano and Celtic Warrior boxing gym that have some great footwork. Basically that leaping style of Horiguchi’s, that’s all it comes down to – footwork. I’ve been sparring some high-level boxers, Prizefighter winners like Jono Carroll, and because of that my confidence has shot up. I really believe that if I can be competitive with a guy as good as that, I can compete with anyone.”

The pugilistic prowess of Seery has forced every one of his UFC opponents to dive in for takedowns after they felt his power. While Horiguchi is known for his striking too, ‘2 Tap’ does not believe a single shot will bring a finality to their meeting. Instead, the 37-year- old will have to call on all of his experience from his boxing days to “cut off the cage” to force exchanges with his young counterpart.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a single shot that puts him away. This is a guy with a lot of experience. He has gone five rounds with Demetrious Johnson and if he was going to get put away with one shot, I’m sure ‘Mighty Mouse’ would have done that.

“To knock out a guy with one shot you’ve got to land it first. Horiguchi is very elusive and he’s very quick. When you throw your shots, he’s not there. I’m gonna have to stay in his face and make this fight horrible for him. I’ve got to march forward and cut the cage off. I want to get my shots going right from the start, and if I manage to land that one good shot and he hits the deck, happy days. If not, I’m going to have to try and out work him.

“I really believe that I can cut the cage off and force the exchanges with him. I’ve been in this game for so many years and I’ve seen it all. I believe I can shut this guy down and make him fight. That’s the plan.”

A lot of fighters of Seery’s age tend to struggle because their bodies begin to slow down. However, Seery only began a strength and conditioning program in the lead up to his last fight, a second round submission win over Jon delos Reyes in Dublin, which has allowed to gain speed and explosivity at a later age.

“I feel really strong at the moment, but the downside to strength and conditioning is you put on a bit more muscle. When you put on a bit more muscle you tend to be a bit heavier. Some people get slower too, but if anything I’ve become a lot stronger and a lot quicker. I’ve got a little bit more weight on me than usual, but I feel great.

“The main benefit of taking on the strength and conditioning work has been the lack of injuries I’ve had since starting it up. I suffered with my back and shoulders for years, that’s fairly common for fighters, but I’ve had no complaints since I started up this kind of training.”

Win or lose, the Irish flyweight has put on an exciting display in all five of his Octagon outings thus far. That being said, he isn’t all that confident that Horguchi’s style lends itself to exhilarating affairs.

“I don’t think he has a style that necessarily guarantees an exciting fight. We all know how good he is. He’s quick, he’s a really good striker, he’s got underestimated wrestling, he’s got underestimated jiu-jitsu and I’m going to have to drag him into a fight. I have to make him fight my fight.

“He’s a lot younger than me, so chances are that he’s a lot quicker than me. He likes to move around a lot. I can’t afford to let him dance around in this fight, I’ve got to make him fight. If I let him come in and out it will be an early night for me. I have to shut down them leaping attacks and get him to stand in the pocket and fight.”

A victory on Sunday will undoubtedly mark the biggest win of Seery’s career, but he maintained that he has tried to put that to the back of his head in the build up to the bout that tops the Fight Pass Prelims card.

“I’m just looking at like it’s another fight. I don’t think about what happens if I beat Horiguchi. I just want to get in there and perform and come away with a win, whatever happens after that happens.

“There’s no point in thinking about how big a fight is. You’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself if you do that. Focusing on those kinds of things will keep you awake at night. I just switched that off and I’m going in there on Sunday with my mindset fixed on the win.”

Watch UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Arlovski on BT Sport from 7pm BST on Sunday, or catch the Prelims from 5pm BST on the BT Sport app/BT Sport Extra 3, and the Early Prelims from 3:30pm BST on UFC Fight Pass

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