Cathal Pendred got his wish of a quick turnaround after taking his fourth UFC win in as many outings at UFC 188 in Mexico City last month, as he will now meet John Howard at UFC 189.
Having invested more money in his Toluca camp than he could have won back from the UFC 188 fight itself, something that was required given the altitude situation in the location, the Irishman was disappointed that he didn’t put an exclamation mark on his performance, despite his best efforts.
Mexican fan favorite Augusto ‘Dodger’ Montano certainly lived up to his ring name on the night. Pendred constantly pushed forward as the hometown hero stayed on the back foot, seemingly waiting for the right moment to pounce. That moment never really came for him as the SBG man utilized his grinding, grappling style to get the fight on his terms.
The Dubliner came close to finishing too as he locked up a Japanese necktie at one point during the tussle. He spoke of his desire to finish the fight in the lead up to the June 13 date, but when the action was all said and done he had to settle for a third consecutive decision win under the UFC banner instead.
He’s taken quite a lot of flack during his career with the promotion thus far. People who have never taken a step into a gym in their lives have deemed themselves worthy of critiquing the technical prowess of the Irishman. Although he doesn’t let it bother him, Pendred admitted that he has had to develop a tough skin.
“You can’t take these things to heart,” he said. “You’ve got to laugh a lot of this stuff off. The only peoples’ opinions I care about are the people around me—my friends, my family, my teammates. I’m not going to take technical advice off some guy who has never stepped foot in a gym in his life. Realistically, I don’t think I would benefit from that too much. The most important thing is, people are talking about me.
“I do have a thicker skin because of it, but I think that’s a good thing. Obviously, the more people that talk about you, the more shit your going to have to take off a certain amount of those people. Look at Conor, he gets a ridiculous amount of shit and he’s been knocking guys out in the first round. The guys at the top get shit too, so I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m getting used to it now.”
There seems to be a great divide amongst the people who tune into Pendred’s fights. There is his loyal fan base who are full of encouragement for the Irishman and then there are those who seem to be hell bent on ridiculing the former Cage Warriors world champion.
Various threads have appeared on different forums poking fun at the SBG fighter. Although it must be frustrating for the former TUF 19 contestant, he knows that that the attention he is getting can be rare for the majority of the fighters that are outside of the UFC’s rankings. Given the fact that people are tuning in to see him fight “for one reason or another”, Pendred is confidant he will be able to change his disparagers’ opinions of him on July 11.
He said: “I’m in a great situation. The most important thing you can do in this game is getting the people to talk about you. After that you can win them over, but at the moment I’m not that worried about that. People want to watch me for one reason or another, and that happened to me very early on in my career.
“I’m not even in the UFC a year, but I’m a lot more well established than guys who have been in there a lot longer than me. I’m very happy with the way things are. The things is, I’m not satisfied with the performances I’ve put in either, so when I do put in the display that I know I’m capable of, hopefully all of these people will be watching too. Hopefully, that performance will be on July 11 against John Howard.”
Realistically, the Irish welterweight’s UFC record is one of the most promising in the welterweight division. On Saturday night in Las Vegas, Pendred will not only aim to silence his critics, but he will also endeavor to set a record for the promotion. With his debut taking place on July 19 last year in Dublin, on July 11 Pendred could become the only active fighter on UFC’s books to go 5-0 inside a year.
“I’ll be the first guy on the UFC roster that has won his first five fights in less than a year. It’s been done twice before, but no active fighters in the UFC have done it. I’ll be the only guy who has ever done that, so it’s a nice little thing to keep in mind. That was something I was pushing out there before I got matched, but now that I have an opponent I won’t be thinking about records or anything like that. I take each fight as it comes,” he finished.
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