Cage Warriors 52 takes place in Kentish Town, London at The Forum on March 9th and in the main event we see Irish fighter, Cathal Pendred, get his long awaited welterweight title shot against Gael Grimaud.
We managed to grab a few words with Cathal ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
You train out of SBG with the likes of former CWFC champion Chris Fields as well as many others, what’s it like training down there?
“I’m training in one of the best MMA gyms in Europe with a great stable of young, hungry fighters that are headed by John Kavanagh. The set up at SBG is the perfect environment for me to develop my skills because of 3 factors: The talent of the fighters training there, the great team atmosphere, and John’s world class approach to teaching.”
After so long proving yourself, how does it feel to finally get the shot at Gael Grimaud?
“I always knew I would get the title shot. It just took a bit longer than I thought it would, and I don’t think anybody has fought as tough opposition as I did to get my title shot. But to be honest that has worked out for the best. As the time went on and I fought these UFC level guys, my confidence has grown and my skills have developed at unbelievable rate too!”
Gael has had many tough fights in his career, how do you think you match up to him?
“Gael has never fought anyone like me. I never stop coming forward, and I never say die. I feel I match up very well against Gael in all ranges.”
The fight is set to take place in London, how do you feel about fighting in front of the London crowd?
“I’ve never fought in London before, I’m very excited about it. I’ve helped corner a few of my team mates there though and there always seems to be a great crowd that brings an awesome atmosphere. There’s also going to be a big travelling contingent of Paddy’s heading over which should add some spice. Irish crowds love to sing!”
Would you have preferred the fight in your homeland of Ireland or does that add a bit more pressure?
“I love fighting at home. The Cage Warriors event I fought on in Dublin last June is probably my most memorable experiences of my MMA career. But I also love fighting in different places, and London is definitely one I want to tick off the list.”
What would winning the CWFC title mean to you?
“It would mean reaching a goal I set for myself nearly 3 years ago when I had my first fight for Cage Warriors. It means I’ll have the most prestigious title available from a European based promotion. It will mean I’m European Champion!”
Your last 2 fights have gone to decision; do you plan on finishing Gael?
“Yes, I’m going to take Gael out.”
How thankful are you to the promotion for giving you the opportunity to showcase your skills to such a large audience?
“I’m very thankful for Cage Warriors for all the opportunities they have given me. There is NO OTHER promotion based in Europe that gives fighters the exposure that Cage Warriors does. It’s such a professionally run organization and I’m very grateful for every opportunity they have given me to showcase my talent.”
How far from the UFC do you think you are? With a win here, you can’t be very far?
“I think I’m ready to fight in the UFC, I’m just waiting for the call. I’ve trained with a lot of UFC fighters and I know I’m at their level. Winning this title will be a huge step towards being signed to the UFC. It will happen this year, believe me.”
Why do you fight and what motivates you?
“I fight to be the best, getting better every day motivates me.”
Thanks for your time, any people to thank?
“I want to thank all my teammates in SBG, my coach John Kavanagh, and my coaches at the Irish Strength Institute. I’d also like to thank all the guys at Mjolnir MMA gym in Iceland where I’ve spent a lot of my camp.”