Training Session with Melendez Leads to Revelation for Pendred in Mexico City

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Despite missing the 10-year anniversary of his high school rugby team’s Senior Cup success on St Patrick’s Day, Cathal Pendred’s trip to Mexico City for media obligations has given the welterweight some pearls of wisdom ahead of his main card debut at UFC 188.

For Pendred, the travel wasn’t too much of a problem this time around given its distance from the June 13 bout.  

“The biggest thing is that you’re taken out of your routine, I’m a big routine guy, I just like to have it there for structure really,” said Pendred who is 3-0 thus far under the UFC banner. “I’m not too worried about this particular media tour because it’s this far out.

“I’m only out here for about four or five days, we’re not right in the middle of a camp or anything like that so it doesn’t really bother me. I wouldn’t be training as intensely or dieting like crazy at this stage. If we were eight weeks out or something, then it would get bad. I’m happy that it’s going down now instead of closer to the fight. It’s not so bad really.”

Gilbert Melendez and Pendred shared some time for their various media obligations during their time in Mexico City, and the top ranked lightweight extended an invitation to the former Cage Warriors champion to do a bit of training.

As the SBG fighter explains, the chance to train with the former Strikeforce champion was too good to turn down. The two UFC 188 main card charges even skipped a meal the promotion had organized for the fighters and staff so they could put themselves through their paces in one of Melendez’s affiliate facilities.


“Myself and Gil had a few media obligations together yesterday and we got chatting. He’s a really cool guy. UFC were meant to be organizing a meal for us last night, but we thought it would be a better idea to test out our lungs.

“We hadn’t trained out here with the altitude and Gil has an affiliate gym over here, so he rang the owner of it and asked if we could have access to it for some gym time. He text me later and told me we got the all clear to use it so we skipped the meal, headed down and got some training in. That was brilliant.

“It was great to get some rolling in with one of the best grapplers in the sport. This guy is a former Strikeforce champion, a former UFC title contender and it’s always great to put some time in with high level guys. He’s got so much experience,” he said in praise of the ‘Skrap Pack’ member.

Had he not got the time in on the mat with Melendez, Pendred might have found himself at a bit of disadvantage heading into his bout with Augusto ‘Dodger’ Montaño. With his Mexican opponent having no need to acclimatize to his native altitude, Pendred discovered that he might need to rethink his plans for his preparation for the contest.

Before his trip to Mexico City the Dubliner had planned on getting out to the location about two weeks before the action was set to go down. However, after his session with ‘El Nino’ and some study afterwards, the Irishman believes he might be giving himself a bit more time to acclimatize having felt the impact of the altitude during the impromptu session.

“To be honest I did notice the effect of the altitude,” he admitted. “I felt it my lungs, I was breathing a lot harder a lot quicker than I usually would. I was planning on getting out here two weeks before the fight, but this media tour has been a blessing in disguise because I’ve got to come over and test it out.

“I’ve come to realize that I actually need more than two weeks. I’ve been reading up on altitude training and discussing it with my coaches, but after that training session I really feel that I need more than two weeks to adjust.

“So I’m either going to have to come out here three or four weeks before the fight or I’m going to look to go somewhere that I’ll have to deal with similar altitude. When I get home I’ll have to sit down with John Kavanagh and discuss our plan of action.”

Watch Cathal Pendred in action at UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum on Sunday June 14th, live on BT Sport 1.


Check out these related stories:

Back to Beantown: Cathal Pendred on His Boston Beginnings

Strength in Routine: Team Ireland Prepares for a Hectic Week

Learning under Fire: The Development of Cathal Pendred