- 09 May 13
We recently caught up with Irish fighters Conor McGregor and Cathal Pendred to discuss the rise of this highly-skilled sport...
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a sport that's recently gained something of a cult following here in Ireland. In March, Cathal Pendred became the first Irish Cage Warriors' Welterweight Champion by defeating Gael Grimaud in a sold-out fight in London.
Both he and fellow Irish fighter Conor McGregor (pictured) - who shot to fame in his debut Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bout when he blew away the opposition in just 67 seconds - have risen to prominence in one of the world's fastest-growing sports.
"In MMA, it doesn't mater what country you're from, what social standing you have," Cathal tells Hot Press, "everyone does the same training and there's a level of respect between martial artists".
It's a skilled game, he adds, with no biting! "I think Suarez is a scumbag. If he did MMA, he might learn a bit of integrity and be a bit more disciplined. Never in the history of UFC has anyone bitten an opponent."
Asked how he feels to be representing Ireland, Conor tells us, "I'm leading the pack. It fills me with joy to be representing our country, to show that we can compete with these guys."
That said, he's still getting used to his new success; "I recently had to take a week out. I had to meet with lawyers and managers, with some of the sharks coming over to take my money... to be honest I haven't even cashed my cheques. I still have no money!"
In an in-depth and honest interview, the boys also reveal how they got involved in the sport ("Self-defence has always been in my mind": Conor), explain the intense training that's involved in staying at the top of their game, and express their hopes for the future, as MMA continues to go from strength to strength. Read the interview in full, in the new issue of Hot Press, out now.