Check-In day is underway at #UFCMoncton
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) October 23, 2018
As May’s UFC Liverpool card began coming together, Chris Fishgold got a jab to the gut with every passing day that his phone didn’t ring.
“I thought the UFC dream might never come because if there was ever a time and a place, it would be when they come to my home city,” said the Liverpool native, whose status as a Cage Warriors champion with a 17-1-1 record didn’t garner him a call to the UFC’s show at Echo Arena. But the day before Darren Till took to the Octagon to face Stephen Thompson, a contract arrived.
It wasn’t for UFC Liverpool, but it was a UFC contract, one that Fishgold will break in this Saturday against Calvin Kattar. It’s been a long time coming for the 26-year-old, but after all the waiting and occasional doubt, he’s made it through and now he’s got his chance to shine. He doesn’t forget those lean years though
“To be honest, I stay motivated by just seeing my team get wins and that pushes me on,” said the Next Generation Liverpool MMA squad member. “At this stage in my career, it wasn’t like when I was a bit younger when I could fight five, six times in a year. Maybe now I will. But when the money isn’t great outside the UFC, I can’t afford to be fighting higher level guys six, seven times a year when I have to work as well to earn money. The Cage Warriors title gave me a lot of motivation and the odd big fight got me through to keep training and keep me mentally strong.”
And as soon as he was given hot prospect Kattar as his first opponent in the Octagon, if there were any lingering questions about motivation, they disappeared immediately.
“I can tell I definitely want it and the motivation’s there. With Kattar, there’s a lot of footage on him, and if you want to get motivated, just watch him knock Shane (Burgos) out and you get your ass to training.”
Fishgold laughs, at ease with making his first walk to the Octagon against the talented New Englander. That might rattle some newcomers, but this is what Fishgold wanted, so it is a badge of honor that the UFC thinks that highly of him to match him up with a fighter of Kattar’s caliber.
“They must think I’m a serious guy or they hate me,” he laughs. “But I’m cool with that, to be honest. If they would have asked me who I wanted for my first fight, I would have said a top ten guy. And to be fair, they gave me pretty close to that, so I’m very happy with that. I don’t want to beat around the bush and get these guys that are unranked. I’d rather just get straight to it.”
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2nd workout/1st pad session done at the hotel today! Feeling on fire! Big thank you for all the messages and comments really blown away by how many people are behind me! Sorry if I take a while to message back with everything on this week but il get back to everyone eventually! Looking forward to representing #liverpool #england then getting back to my dog and @daniellaclare #ufcmoncton #Canada #moncton #health #living #keepgrinding #embracethegrind #peaceandlove #mma #thaiboxing #boxing #judo #bjj #fitness #grappling #striking #kickboxing #k1 #strengthandconditioning #fightgame #fightlife #lightweight #worldchampion #trainhardstayhumble #teamworkmakesdreamswork #ufc #scramble #nogi
A post shared by Chris Fishgold (@chrisfishgold) on Oct 22, 2018 at 2:39pm PDT
That is expected to be the story of the fight as well. Kattar is an aggressive battler on fight night, and Fishgold has ended 14 of his 17 pro wins before the final horn, so he’s no shrinking violet when the Octagon door shuts. Many believe it’s the sleeper pick for Fight of the Night, and that sits just fine with Mr. Fishgold.
“Me and Kattar are coming for that,” he said. “I’ve never seen his ground and he hasn’t really seen my standup, but either way, I know we’re both going out there to take each other’s head off. I know I’m very comfortable because I know what I’m bringing to the table and I know my gameplan. The thing is, I can be many things. I fought most of my career against strikers; he hasn’t fought many grapplers.”
Twelve of Fishgold’s 14 finishes have come via submission, but the Liverpudlian will not back down from a standup scrap, either. Bottom line, he’s a welcome addition to the 145-pound ranks.
“I’ll go out and put my heart on my sleeve and you’re looking at a fast finish,” he said. “You’re looking at someone going a hundred miles an hour and you don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m not sure if I’m gonna strike with him or take him down, but either way, in the UFC, you get paid to perform. There’s no other way around it. You get paid to go out there and fight.”
As for the talk of the Scousers getting thrown into the deep end in the UFC, this debutant welcomes that challenge.
“My name’s not Fishgold for nothing,” he laughs. “I can swim.”