The buzz phrase cited for success in any endeavor is time management. For Phillipe Nover, it’s a little different, as his double duty as a registered nurse and professional prizefighter require him to be a master of stress management.
“My life is a balancing act and it’s always been that way,” he said. “I’m pretty much managing two full-time, fully-committed jobs where everything’s on the line all the time.”
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So when he’s done working in the cardiac cath lab, a job in which he logs at least 40 hours per week, it’s off to a host of gyms where people throw punches at him and try to twist his limbs in directions they’re not supposed to go in. But if you’re waiting for a complaint from the UFC featherweight and former Ultimate Fighter finalist, keep waiting.
“I’m enjoying every minute of it,” he said. “I love training, I love saving people’s lives at work, and I’m going to keep pushing as far as I can and hopefully be an inspiration to a few people.”
He already is, and that inspiration tour’s next stop will be two miles away from home for Nover, as he takes on Rick Glenn at Barclays Center, where he will be the only fighter hearing Bruce Buffer roar, “From Brooklyn, New York” on Saturday night.
“I know a lot of people are coming out to support me and there are just going to be smiles,” he said. “I won’t be able to hold back the smiling before the fight. As soon as the bell rings, it’s straight business. I don’t love or hate my opponent at all. He wants the same thing as I want. But before the fight, when they announce my name and announce ‘Brooklyn, New York,’ it will be a big smile and an outpouring of emotions in my brain. Then it’s all strategy from there. I’m going to put a good performance on and everybody’s going to be proud.”
At 12-7-1 and with back-to-back losses, Nover is at a pivotal point in his career, but if anything, since returning to the UFC in 2015, he has shown an evolution in his game, one most evident in a decision loss to Renan Barao last September. With the odds against him, Nover didn’t get the victory, but he put on an excellent effort against a fighter who was in the upper half of the pound-for-pound list not too long ago.
“My record definitely doesn’t look good on paper, but then you look at the type of fights and opponents, and it says a lot more when you look in detail,” said Nover, who has been on the wrong end of three split or majority decisions over the course of a pro career that began in 2003. “And I’m getting better and better. It’s kind of weird because usually a fighter that’s going beyond ten years in their career, they kind of fall off as far as their skill level and they slow down. But I feel like I’m the odd person out there who’s actually getting better. I keep improving in the gym, I focus most of my stuff on strategy and more smart training than ever before.”
So it’s training smarter, not harder for “The Filipino Assassin.”
“We’re all tough,” Nover said. “I know I’m tough. I’ve been fighting for 14 years, I can take a punch in the face. (Laughs) But it’s really about strategy and drilling the perfect technique and the exact body mechanics you need to happen in the fight and the skill level to improve rather than just doing brute time in the gym and getting stronger and tougher.”
With that attitude, Nover’s prime may be just in time for the most important fight of his career.
“This is another dream come true,” he said. “To fight in Brooklyn is one of the biggest opportunities I’m accomplishing right now. I’ve been a professional fighter for almost 14 years and this is just unreal to me. Here I am, toward the later end of my career, and I’m finally able to take advantage of being a hometown fighter.”