Cathal Pendred may have come one win short of reaching the finals on season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) after losing to Eddie Gordon in the semifinals (recap), but the Irishman still earned himself a chance to fight inside the Octagon.
And he already has his a fight booked, as he will face fellow TUF teammate, Mike King, on July 19, 2014 in front of his hometown crowd at UFC Fight Night 46 from the O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
Speaking to UFC.com, Pendred says the fact that he gets to make his official UFC debut in his native country, feels like his own version of the World Cup.
"It will be an amazing feeling. I have been representing Ireland on the international stage of MMA for a few years. We might not wear a green jersey, but we walk to the octagon with the tri-color wrapped around us with pride. We will be representing our nation on the biggest stage in our sport. Ireland didn´t qualify for the World Cup this summer, so July 19th will be our World Cup."
Though Cathal says he got along quite well with King on the show, he had to sever his friendship with him or the time ahead of their fight.
"I actually got on quite well with Mike when I was on the show. We kept in contact afterwards, so I was little bit disappointed when I found out it was him. But that disappointment was completely overshadowed by my excitement of making my UFC debut in my hometown. The minute I was told Mike was my opponent, my friendship with him ceased. Until July 19th he is neither a friend to me or even a person; he is just an obstacle standing in the way of my dream. An obstacle that I will get through undoubtedly. I think Mike is a good fighter but not as good as me. I don´t predict how my fights are won, all I can predict is the one thing I know is certain: I will be the victor. He's a big, athletic, strong guy that has some holes in his game. His heart is as big as they come, so to beat him you have to stop him."
Pendred will enter the cage riding a seven-fight winning streak. And though he may have lost some hype after losing to Gordon, "The Punisher" looks to erase the memory of that loss and build himself back up by putting on a show for the local crowd.
The sold out UFC Fight Night 46 event will be headlined by Conor McGregor as he returns from injury to take on Diego Brandao. In the co-main event, Gunnar Nelson takes on Zak Cummings in welterweight action. For those who won't be making the trip to "The Emerald Isle," you can catch all of the action exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
To check out the latest UFC Fight Night 46: "McGregor vs. Brandao" fight card and line up click here.