Philip Mulpeter talks comeback; promises ‘big things to come’ in 2018

Comebacks in MMA are a dime a dozen. Some triumphant; others brimmed with misfortune. After almost three years away from active competition, ‘The Honeybadger’ Philip Mulpeter (7-5) returns to the cage this Saturday in Manchester, England to headline Budo FC 26 and with a win, he would find himself wearing European gold.

Sometimes in a sport as frantic as MMA, once you’re out of sight you’re often out of mind. For Philip, being out of sight was not necessarily a bad thing. While working to regain finances and get himself back on board, the time away allowed the SBG Ireland representative to fix his mindset, adjust his tools and come back sharper.

“At that time I was going through a really rough period,” Mulpeter confessed. “Money wasn’t great with many bills, I’d lost that close decision fight out in Portugal which I thought I’d won despite only having trained for three weeks, but it just all set me back massively. I had to go to work for nearly two years to save up money and get my own gym opened up.

“The last year I’ve been trying to train almost full-time and coach as well. I’m in a good position now and it’s allowed me to give this another shot. The money for professionals isn’t great until you get to a high level. Almost all up-and-comers have something on the side to aid their finances in order to train as well as being able to have a life; seeing friends, treating your woman – you’ve got to allow that. You can’t just train 24/7 because you’ll go insane.

“Now in every asset I’m in the best place possible,” Philip continued. “I’m in great shape after training in Thailand at Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket Fight Club, so I can’t wait to get back in there. The trip showed me that I’ve still got it. I can’t wait. It’s been too long.”

Despite his lengthy absence, this weekend’s return wasn’t always meant to take so long. In fact, the ‘Honeybadger’ had been lined up for a return much sooner although luck would not be in his favour.

After having almost a dozen scheduled opponents pull out on him, finding a fight became progressively challenging for the Irishman.

“I’ve been ready to come back for a bit of time now,” the welterweight informed. “I was supposed to fight on BAMMA on two separate occasions. In one instance, I think I had five different opponents and each one pulled out on me. I was meant to fight on a different show the second time around, but again I couldn’t get an opponent to stay in the fight.

“I was getting offered opponents who weren’t that well-known and pulling out at the last minute. Then along came a serious fight and I was able to sign on the line and have faith that this fight would see its day.”

Keeping his faith is what Philip did and it’s paying dividends. In his return this weekend, Philip finds himself matched with Budo’s welterweight champion Ali Arish (23-6). People may say this is not an easy fight to come back to, given the suffocating swarming pace of an Arish bout, however that’s exactly the type of challenge Mulpeter was seeking.

In preparing for Arish, the Irishman has indeed put the graft in. Following stints in Thailand and working with some of the best around Irish shores, Philip believes he has the perfect plan to topple the UK MMA veteran.

“I know Ali is going to show up,” Philip asserted. “He’s an old school, hardcore boy, is Ali and that’s exactly what I want. I want to go back in there and beat a guy that’s well known to get my name back in the mix of top welterweights and let everyone know that I’m still here and that I’ve still got it.

“The thing is, we know what Ali’s going to do. He’ll be trying to make it an Ali fight; shooting for single-leg takedowns and throwing wild shots. It’s very predictable, but people let him dictate. People are afraid of Ali shooting so they’re backing up and letting him set the pace. That’s not going to happen with me. I’m going to put him on the backfoot and he’ll be gassing for air after the first round.

“It’s a bad matchup for him,” revealed the 170-pounder. “People always think they can take me down, but they’ll be surprised here. This won’t be a slow fight. Ali will be forced to keep up with my pace. In Thailand I was wrestling Dagestani guys and world class talents. I know I’ve got what it takes to challenge Ali’s style. My ground game is through the roof, so he better be prepared, because I will be taking him down. My endurance is fantastic right now. I hope he’s been doing his sprints, because it’s going to be a tough night for him.”

With 2018 looming large, Mulpeter looks to make a statement in the closing of the year. Whilst promising big things in the coming 12 months, Philip has his sights set no further than December 16th.

“All I’m concentrating on is getting the win,” Philip stated. “I’m going to make a statement on Saturday night. I’ve come on leaps and bounds with the work I’ve put in. My mindset is purely focused on getting the win and announcing my return.”