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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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"I don't concern myself at all with criticism from the fans," insists record-chasing Pendred

He’s aiming for a fifth consecutive UFC win next weekend.

Irish mixed martial arts star Cathal Pendred.
Irish mixed martial arts star Cathal Pendred.
Image: Emily Harney/INPHO

DESPITE EXTENDING HIS undefeated streak in the UFC last month, Cathal Pendred felt the wrath of fans again in the aftermath.

He dominated Augusto Montano at UFC 188 to secure his fourth consecutive win in the octagon, but a significant section of those watching weren’t impressed.

Pendred admitted himself that he wasn’t at his best in Mexico City. However, it was a frustrating scenario for the Irish welterweight as he came up against an opponent who refused to engage and make it an exciting spectacle.

It wasn’t the first time in his career that Pendred came in for criticism. He wanted a swift opportunity to answer his critics and that’ll come this Saturday night at UFC 189 in Las Vegas.

After his defeat of Montano, the SBG welterweight took to social media to campaign for another fight as soon as one became available. After some minor surgery was performed on next weekend’s card due to injuries, Pendred was called up to take on John Howard.

His detractors will have their keyboards at the ready, but Pendred’s philosophy is that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

“I don’t concern myself at all with criticism from the fans,” Pendred told The42. “The main thing is that they’re watching, they’re fans of the sport and they know who I am. The hard part is getting noticed, it’s an easier job to win people over.

“People are talking about me, it might not be positive now but I feel like I can change their outlook. I’m quite a recognised name even though I’ve only been in the organisation for 11 months.

“It’s hard to get noticed in the UFC these days because the roster is now so big, so I feel like I’ve done a good job on that front. People are talking about me so I’m happy with that.”

A brief glance at John Howard’s record will tell you that this is likely to be the most difficult test of Pendred’s career. Howard made his UFC debut in 2009, has 12 octagon appearances under his belt and holds wins over the likes of Siyar Bahadurzada and Uriah Hall.

But on the flipside, since that pair of big wins in 2013, things have gone pear-shaped for Howard, who’s in his second spell as a UFC fighter. The 32-year-old American is riding a three-fight losing streak. A loss to Pendred and he’s likely to be shown the door again.

UFC Fight Night Boston John Howard is Cathal Pendred's opponent in Las Vegas next Saturday. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Pendred’s UFC career won’t be at stake on Saturday, but a UFC record will. According to the Dubliner, victory will see him become the first fighter in history to win five fights inside his first year with the organisation. His biggest fight yet?

“Yeah, the next fight is always the biggest,” said Pendred. “Every fight is a step further in the direction I want to go. People always talk about the pressure of the biggest fight of your life, but every fight is the biggest fight of my life. So the pressure is constant and I’m happy that’s the way it is.

“I don’t put too much weight into looking at my opponents and my last fight was the perfect example of why that is. I watched a lot of Montano and he looked very aggressive. He was like a bull in a china shop when I watched his previous fights but he was a kitten when we fought.

“I’ve had a brief look at Howard. He’s fought some high-calibre guys in the UFC and he only seems to get beaten by the really top-ranked guys, so it’ll be a good litmus test for me. But it’s one I’m very confident of passing and it’ll push me up into where I want to be.”

After UFC 189, Pendred will take some brief respite before heading back into a training camp for his sixth UFC outing. That’ll be on 24 October where it all began last year: at the 3Arena in his hometown of Dublin.

Pendred hasn’t been delivering performances yet but the results can’t be argued with. If he can combine both at the MGM Grand next weekend, it’ll be difficult for the UFC to ignore his calls for a ranked opponent in Ireland in the autumn.

Pendred: “This is set up perfectly. I’m chasing ranked opponents now and I think this is the perfect opportunity for me to get one. If I win this fight I’ll be 5-0 in the UFC and my next fight will be at home. I’ll be looking to be high up on the card so it’s all working out great for me.”

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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