Cathal Pendred wins a line-out for Belvedere College during the 2005 Leinster Schools Senior Cup final.
Dual Player

The UFC's Cathal Pendred is considering a return to rugby with Clontarf

Pendred won a Leinster Schools Senior Cup medal in 2005.

HE WON’T BE trying his hand at professional boxing but Cathal Pendred says that a return to the rugby pitch could soon be on the cards.

Pendred was an up-and-coming prospect in rugby until he opted to pursue a career in mixed martial arts instead at the age of 20.

That proved to be a wise choice for the Dubliner, who’s now 29. He has since progressed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship — MMA’s elite organisation — and picked up four victories since making his UFC debut last year.

Pendred had been hoping to branch out into professional boxing after his next UFC fight — against Tom Breese in Dublin on 24 October — but that was blocked by UFC officials.

However, boxing’s loss could be rugby’s gain. While Pendred has no intention of abandoning his plans to rise up the UFC’s welterweight division, he told The42 that he’s tempted to give rugby “another bash” too.

Pendred, who played club rugby with Clontarf, was in the second-row for Belvedere College when they won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 2005. Cian Healy and Ian Keatley were also members of the team that defeated Blackrock College at Lansdowne Road.

“I was hoping to take a boxing fight after this next fight in Dublin but the UFC wouldn’t allow me, but I’m still planning to take a few months off to focus on different aspects of my training. I believe I’ll come back a better fighter. But I’m wondering now if they’d allow me to play a bit of rugby. I don’t think that would be against the rules,” Pendred said.

“I believe I’m still signed up to Clontarf Rugby Club so I might go back with them for a game and see what happens. I think I’d be a better rugby player than I ever was. Martial arts teaches you how to manipulate other bodies so if I was to hit a ruck or a tackle I think I’d be able to do it better than ever.

“Since I left rugby to pursue MMA, I’ve only gone back to play one game — it was a charity match for my school — and it was probably one of the best games I ever played, even though I hadn’t played for three or four years before that. So you’d never know, I might go back and give it another bash.”

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