Pendred turns down WSOF contract, willing to wait for UFC

Cage Warriors welterweight champion, Cathal Pendred, has revealed that he has had to turn down a “lucrative” contract with Ray Sefo’s World Series of Fighting.

Pendred, whose title defence against Che Mills in early June was widely tipped to win him a place on the UFC roster, also disclosed that the contract offer had to be declined due to clauses in his existing deal with Cage Warriors.

“Shortly after the Mills fight the WSOF offered me a contract,” said the Dubliner. “It was a deal that was worth nearly 20 times what I’m on at the moment, but the contract I signed with Cage Warriors only allows me to leave if the UFC make an offer.”

With the emergence of the WSOF as a promotion on the rise, along with their welterweight roster that has already got the MMA world talking after Josh Burkman’s quick guillotine finish on the seemingly unchokable UFC veteran, Jon Fitch, it is no surprise that Pendred was disappointed.

“It’s a little frustrating. That was a deal that would allow me to live quite comfortably. The WSOF have a really good welterweight division too with some guys that are still considered some of the best in the world at 170.

“There could’ve been some great matchups for me there, but the UFC is where I want to be,” he said.

As far as looking to the WSOF when his current Cage Warriors contract runs out, Pendred doesn’t think he will see out the contract before the call comes that will see him join his team mate Conor McGregor on the books of Dana White & Co.

“I don’t think it will take until March. Obviously if nothing has happened by then I’ll have to weigh things up, but I know I’m close to the UFC deal,” said the welterweight champion.

With the eyes of the MMA world on Pendred on June 1st at the Helix in Dublin, the European standout imposed his will on Mills – someone who had previously received the nod from the Zuffa brass.

The Straight Blast Gym man was on the hunt for the finish and stood in the pocket despite Mills’ well known aptitude for the striking game, before showcasing his fantastic grappling ability.

A first round that was completely controlled by the Irishman was followed by Mills barely getting out of the second as Pendred rained down punches from the mount position, only stopping to ask referee Marc Goddard had he seen enough.

When the action resumed in third round, the champion eventually found himself back landing punches in the mount position and this time Goddard stopped the bout as the hometown crowd burst into applause for their hero.

Smiling widely, the triumphant warrior was joined by family in the middle of the cage as the crowd sang their appreciation for the UFC’s newest welterweight.

National papers boasted another countryman in the sport’s biggest show, but for Pendred, the news that he wanted never came.

“Basically it came down to numbers. It was explained to me that the UFC have 80 fighters in the division at the moment, and I have to wait while they made some space for me.

“It’s annoying because I know I can beat at least 70 out of that 80 and I’d be ready to go with the other 10 at the drop of hat. I’m just wondering why they (UFC) didn’t bring me in and let me clear it out for them.

“It was hard to take because I had been told that a victory over Mills would secure my spot, but I’ve got to keep moving forward.”

Pendred currently has two fights left on his Cage Warriors deal which will expire in March 2014 and he insists he only wants to fight big names that can make him a more valuable asset for the UFC.

“I don’t want to be picky, but I only want to take on people that will get me closer to getting Joe Silva to think ‘we have to get him.’

“Wins over tough opponents are the only things that will get me there, so I just want to keep putting pressure on them to bring me into the fold.”

Controversial British welterweight Paul “Semtex” Daley, who was famously axed by the UFC when he punched Josh Koscheck after their 2010 bout, took a big victory under the Cage Warriors banner last weekend prompting internet chatter about a possible matchup between himself and Pendred.

Not a stranger to this scenario, with Daley being present in Dublin for his title defence against Mills, Pendred admits the idea of the bout is appealing, but he has already been told that Bellator would not release their welterweight for the matchup.

“As far as I know, Bellator don’t like the idea of a matchup between the two of us, but I would love to fight him.

“Paul would be a great opponent and a win over him would be huge for me, it’s a pity, but I doubt it will happen.”

By Peter Carroll – @PetesyCarroll

Owner/Editor of SevereMMA.com. Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.