Paul McVeigh has won his last three fights during which he remained the Cage Warriors bantamweight champion as well as picked up the Cage Contender bantamweight belt. Basically, he’s the number one bantamweight in Europe. I recently visited The Griphouse gym in Glasgow, Scotland to meet with gym owner Guy Ramsey and was lucky enough to bump into Paul who was more than happy to sit down and have a chat.
[important title=”How long did it take you to acquire the company and what obstacles were presented, if any?”]”I wouldn’t say there was any real obstacles. We definitely have taken our time. Our goal was that when we’re ready to launch, we wanted to make sure we were prepared and do it properly and we believe we are there now.” [/important]
[important title=”So what are you all about? Joking, but not really. Give us a breakdown on who you are.”]”Well I started training in 2000 when I still lived in Ireland and turned pro in 2003 after a number of amateur fights. The move to Glasgow coincided with my girlfriend at the time but I studied Sports Science at Glasgow. I started training at The Griphouse and I’ve been here since 2005.”[/important]
[important title=”The Griphouse and their ‘Dinky Ninjas Fight Team’ have a pretty ruthless reputation in Scotland. What can that be attribute to?”]”I think The Griphouse’s success can be attributed to the number of pro fighters we have, all who bring different strengths to the table which inevitably pushes everyone’s game forward. James Doolan is a former champion Thai boxer, Sean Wright is a very experienced Thai boxer who people will remember from The Contender Asia, Allan Love is a BJJ purple belt, Rab Whiteford is a Commonwealth Judo Bronze medallist, Marcos Nardini is a BJJ black belt, Kieran Malone is a top notch wrestler, some guys get training with ex pro boxer Colin McNeil and so on. We can’t help but improve. I mean, this morning at our sparring session we had 24 folk, 20 of which were pro fighters. It’s hard to find that sort of experience anywhere else in Scotland at the minute.”[/important]
[important title=”There are only a handful of gyms in the UK where you can get that kind of training and sparring really isn’t there?”]”Definitely, we’ve made a lot of friends and contacts in UK MMA and internationally and this comes back to help everyone at the gym. For example, a few of our fighters have just come back from Brazil where they trained at Brazilian Top Team in Rio, where they were invited to help out with Bustamante’s camp for his fight with Shirai and for Milton Viera’s fight at Strikeforce Challengers. Kieran Malone’s wrestling was well received and most of the Brazilian fighters couldn’t believe he was a 19 year old Scottish guy. Rab Whiteford was pulled in as a sparring partner for Viera after they seen him training. The guys at BTT have told our guys to come back soon so they can organise fights for the Scottish guys in Brazil.”[/important]
[important title=”Talking of fighting internationally, how much can you talk about your experience with The Ultimate Fighter?”]”Hmph, I can’t talk a lot about that contractually but after the initial interviews and try-outs, the elimination fights took place at Mandalay Bay instead of the normal set up where fights take place in the gym. It was surreal to be fighting there with no audience but I look forward to fighting there again to a full house.
In terms of the overall experience, there was a lot of waiting around at the interviews and try-outs. That’s to be expected when there are around 500 fighters auditioning though. My personal opinion is that there are definitely a bunch of fighters for whom the interview and try-out process is a formality, but that’s probably inevitable and the top guys are always gonna stick out regardless.”[/important]
[important title=”Dana’s been raving about this season, saying it’s going to be the best one yet, that all the fights are spectacular but he says that about every season.”]”Dana’s being honest and it isn’t hyperbole, all the fights are fantastic. I can’t say if I got through or not but Dana told me that his elimination fight was possibly the most exciting fight he’s seen in The Ultimate Fighter.”[/important]
[important title=”What do you think about the number of fans on Twitter and the forums calling for you to be in the UFC?”]”Well I think that if I can notch up another couple of wins that things will happen for me but for the moment I’ve just got to look forward to the next fight and keep winning.”[/important]
[important title=”I can see that not only is everyone a fighter, but you are all huge fight fans too. Which fighters do you like watching the most?”]”I go through phases; just now I’m loving Hatsu Hioki, especially his ground game. (he points to the fights on the TV in the gym where Hioki’s Sengoku fights are playing) Just look at that, his transitions are awesome. He just floats over that guard, it’s incredible!”[/important]
[important title=”How does this feed back into your own training?”]”I look at what the best fighters are doing and try to incorporate that into my game. I watch a lot of MMA, you can see that already. I mean, we went for lunch earlier and sat with my laptop watching some of the Brazilians that Rab and Kieran trained with.”[/important]