James Doolan makes his Cage Warriors debut on April 13 against fellow debutant James Pennington. Doolan is highly regarded across Europe and will have the home advantage when April comes, but will it affect him? Here he tells Love2Fight his thoughts.
This fight marks your Cage Warriors debut, and it’s in Scotland. Safe to say you’re excited?
Right now I’m half way through a training camp so I’m not that excited, when I’ve finished training and made weight then the excitement will start for me. It is pretty cool getting to finally fight in Cage Warriors though, it completes the set with me having fought on all the UK’s biggest shows, OMMAC, BAMMA and Cage Rage back in the day. My teams been busy on Cage Warriors and I’ve been around their shows cornering etc, I like what they’re doing.
What do you know about James Pennington?
I know James is tall at the weight, and from a very good gym and Brian Adams will have him well prepared. I had a look at his record and I only recognise Chris Garry and Davie Grant, so I’ve been in with better guys up until now. I’ve had a look at his fights online and he’s a dangerous guy so it should be an interesting fight. A big factor in this fight is James coming off his first loss, he’s going to be hungry and be out to prove to himself and people he’s a force to be reckoned with.
Does the ‘home advantage’ of this fight being in Glasgow bring added pressure or will it spur you on even more to win?
It’s nice to be fighting in Glasgow again but as for home advantage it’s only going to be me and James in there. I get a little excited around the crowd on the day of the fight but the closer I get to the cage I really don’t even know there is a crowd. I hear nothing but my coaches. I see nothing but who ever is across the cage from me. There’s no real pressure on me other than the pressure I put on myself. Career wise I’m fighting because I enjoy it. I’ve no aspirations of getting to the UFC like some of the younger guys coming up, they’re the ones with the pressure knowing a loss sets them back 3-5 fights. I make a good living coaching, I’ll get to the UFC that way. I fight to get better and I enjoy it.
How would you say your training is going?
Training is going well, the Dinky Ninjas have had an amazing 12 months and that’s a direct result of the training and work ethic in our gym. Everything’s on track in terms of fitness, sharpness and weight. With James’s size it’s been easier to find sparring partners as we have a lot of talented guys who are bigger than me: Graham Turner the Vision and On Top champion, Robert Whiteford the Vision champion Martin Delaney the On Top and Made 4 The Cage champion, and Steven Ray who just dropped his BAMMA title.
Are you focusing on your ground game since Pennington has won the majority of his fights via submission?
I focus on everything really. No fighter from Gym 01 is not going to be well rounded so I focus on everything. My coaches have brought up one or two things we cover such as foot/leg locks purely from the recent Shock ‘N’ Awe results but I cover everything as always.
Not many of your fights have gone to decision – do you prefer to give the fans a war rather than grind out a win?
I like to finish mainly. I’d rather get stopped than run out of time and have the fight go to points, I’m always looking for the finish. Saying that, I’m now more than ever aware that it’s a game and I need to be conscious of the scoring. In terms of what I prefer the last two UK guys I fought I’ve submitted quick and went home not having learned anything new other than if you leave your neck out I’ll have it. In contrast, I got my nose broke a minute into a 25 minute fight with David Häggström and went on to lose on points in a close fight but came away with so much that has made me better as a fighter and a coach.
Only one of your opponent’s fights has gone to decision so do you think this one will need the judges?
I see a pattern when two good guys get matched up then more frequently it will go to the judges. I don’t think James’s fight with Davie Grant was a true reflection of his ability so I’ll be prepared to go the distance, if a finish comes then all the better.
Do you have anything to say, or anybody to thank before this fight?
Usual thanks to my other half Joanne (who is also on the Cage Warriors card), everyone at the Dinky Ninjas, Higher Level MMA, the Griphouse, Legacy FightWear and Torra Scotia sports.
Photo credit: Front Row MMA