Gary Carr/INPHO Paul Redmond
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Redmond set to begin life after the UFC this weekend at BAMMA 26 in Dublin
The Team Ryano product’s clash with Chris Stringer is one of several big bouts on the bill.

FIGHTERS USUALLY VISUALISE a spectacular knockout or a slick submission before each bout, and having taken nine of his 10 professional wins via stoppage, Paul Redmond is plenty familiar with getting the job done inside the distance.

However, when he takes on Chris Stringer tomorrow night at BAMMA 26 at the 3Arena in his hometown of Dublin, Redmond is keen to avail of every one of the potential 15 minutes of action on offer.

It’s been a long wait for Redmond to return to competition. He was last seen in the cage 14 months ago when he was stopped in the first round of his second outing in the UFC by Robert Whiteford in Glasgow.

The loss eventually resulted in the end of the road in the UFC for Redmond, who had made a short-notice debut for the promotion six months earlier when he suffered a unanimous-decision defeat to Mirsad Bektic.

He was eager to fight again elsewhere as soon as the UFC let him go, but with injuries to opponents and cancelled shows keeping him sidelined, the 29-year-old Dubliner’s return has been pushed back on three separate occasions.

“I’ve been training hard anyway, and it’s not been for love nor want of a fight. It’s unfortunate that it has taken this long to get back in there but I genuinely can’t wait to get back in and start doing what I do again,” Redmond told The42.

Competing on a regional show like BAMMA on the back of a stint in the UFC brings with it an increased level of expectation for fighters, but it’s not something Redmond is conscious of. Nevertheless, he expects to put the best version of himself on show, aided by the removal of the tough cut to 145lbs that hampered him in the UFC.

“I know other people say it a lot about expectation and that UFC tag, but I don’t feel that way,” Redmond explained. “I actually don’t class myself as a UFC vet because I never won a fight in there, basically. I fought at the wrong weight in there, I’m back to my original weight now so let’s see what I can do again at 155lbs.”

He added: “This amount of time that I’ve had to train, I’ve been doing it just because I love it, and it has really stood to me. I’m expecting that to be a positive.”

While Redmond’s absence from the cage has been protracted, Stringer will be fighting for the first time in three-and-a-half-years. Redmond (10-6) will go in as the favourite against the Lisburn native, who has an even record of 11-11, but he certainly isn’t expecting it to be easy.

“Chris has been around for a long time. He’s been a pro for a lot longer than I have. He was one of the first Irish guys to fight a UFC vet — Rich Clementi on Cage Wars — so he has seen it all and he has also spent the last while getting better. People are going to see the best of him in there as well,” Redmond said.

“A lot of people are saying that this could be ‘Fight of the Night’ and I genuinely hope it is. Anybody who knows me knows what I’m about. I have 10 wins, nine by stoppage, so I come out to finish my opponents and Chris does the same.

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“I’ve known Chris for a long time and I have no malice towards him — I like Chris as a person and we’ll have a few beers afterwards — but I genuinely hope the two of us go at in there on Saturday night.

“I know it’s great to get a fast knockout or a fast submission, but sometimes you want to go in there and get a hard three rounds, then come out and have people feeling that it was a good fight. For this one, I want three rounds because I need that cage-time.

“I haven’t had that for a while because the last one was three minutes and it was over a year ago, and in the one before that I just got battered for 15 minutes.”

Paul Redmond’s return isn’t the only attraction on the BAMMA 26 card. It’s a big night for several other Irish fighters, particularly SBG’s Peter Queally, who believes a win against Joe McColgan could earn him a place on the bill for UFC Fight Night 99 in Belfast in November.

BAMMA 26 will be headlined by a middleweight title bout between champion John Phillips — a Welshman who trains at SBG in Dublin — and England’s Andy DeVent. Click here for fight card and ticket information. The event will also be streamed live from BAMMA’s YouTube channel.

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