Irish UFC middleweight Cathal Pendred has revealed a poor start and lack of composure in the opening round of his bout with Mike King was the reason he almost succumbed to defeat before going on to win with a second-round submission.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Pendred said: “I got off to a slow start and in this sport that’s not a great thing to do.
“It happened. I got put in a couple of bad positions, but I just kept fighting back.
“I never gave up on myself and just tried to fight back and eventually got into a dominant position and was able to secure the win.”
"A fighter always wants to keep a calm mind because that’s when they make the best decisions, and that’s when they can observe their opponent as well" - Cathal Pendred
Fighting in front of a partisan home crowd at the O2 in Dublin, Pendred also stated that the rousing welcome the crowd gave him also slightly knocked his concentration.
He said: “Every time I go to the octagon I always try to keep as calm as possible.
"A fighter always wants to keep a calm mind because - that’s when they make the best decisions and that’s when they can observe their opponent as well.
“But I think I got caught up as well and the crowd reacted. I prepared for the crowd to be loud and did a lot of visualisation stuff with my sports psychologist. But it was so loud."
“It’s not the first time in one of my fights that the opponent has thrown the kitchen sink at me and you know sometimes that breaks people more than actually getting hurt.
"Throwing everything at you and you’re still standing and they’re thinking, ‘What the hell do I have to do to get rid of this guy?’”
The Whitehall fighter also revealed that the UFC’s head honchos were very impressed with his performance in the octagon in the Irish capital.
Pendred said: “The biggest shock of the night was when I was walking backstage. Dana White, the president of the UFC, came over to me screaming, ‘How the hell did you do that?'
“He’s a brutally honest guy and he told me that he loved it. And my team-mate Gunnar Nelson was in the room next to him, and he was watching with Lorenzo Ferrtita, one of the owners, and he [Nelson] said they were just screaming. And when I pulled off the submission they went crazy.”
The win has boosted Pendred's profile hugely and financially he revealed it could not have come at a better time, saying: “This was six years of hard work. I almost broke myself financially to get to this point.
"It’s not like I didn't have other options. I have a degree and I could have pursued a regular job and lived a comfortable lifestyle, but I had this dream and I chased my passion, and I lived a life where I didn’t have much money and I found it difficult to pay my way.
"So to enter the scene and win in the UFC the way I did, and then to get a bonus, is a fairytale start to my career.”