BAMMA 8 interview: Paul McVeigh talks taking on Erik Perez

MMA has many larger than life characters but they don’t come much more exciting or excitable than Paul ‘Metabolic’ Mcveigh. Holding a record of 18-6-0, the charismatic fighter is ranked #2 for his weight in the UK and rated as the best unsigned Bantamweight in Europe. Having fought both at Bantam and Lightweight, McVeigh is no stranger to tough fights; and his losses have all been against credible names that include Remedios, Grimshaw and former Shooto World Champ, Oishi. Following his loss against Louis Gaudinot on The Ultimate Fighter this year, McVeigh comes to BAMMA 8 hungry for a win; and this fight could prove pivotal in establishing him on the world stage as he faces Erik Perez from the internationally renowned Jacksons gym. The hundred-miles-an-hour fighter talks to Graham Finney ahead of his BAMMA debut.

So Paul, how are preparations going?

“They’re going fine. It’s fairly horrendous going into a gym and letting a bunch of guys beat you up all day long but that’s part of the job really. It’s important I’m properly prepared because I know Erik is going to be a tough opponent and I’m not expecting an easy fight from him.”

What do you know about Erik?

“You know, there is not a lot of information out there on him. I tried researching him online but that made things more complicated because there is also a Canadian fighter called Eric Perez. I spent a while watching this guy before realising it wasn’t the guy I was going to be fighting. All I really know is what I’ve seen of him fighting on the last BAMMA show.”

This is your debut fight on BAMMA, are you confident that you are ready to step up to the big stage?

“Definitely. I look around and see a lot of fighters concentrating on getting on UFC and I’ve always thought that if your goal is to get on UFC then you’re going to end up fighting more conservatively. BAMMA is a great show and I’ve watched all their events and fights so I’m more than happy to be on there as it is a great opportunity for me.”

Will you treat it any differently with it being a bigger show?

“No because, at the end of the day, once you’re in the cage and the other guy starts smashing you about then all the stuff like the TV cameras and what people are shouting at you gets forgotten about. I’ve fought on big shows in Japan before and obviously The Ultimate Fighter was seen by a squillion people so that doesn’t really affect me. One thing I do know is that there will be a lot of my Scottish friends in Nottingham on the night and I’m expecting them to be extremely vocal.”

What will your routine be on the day?

“Probably the same as it always is. I’ll eat and drink a lot then have to sit there while my trainers try and calm me down. I get fairly excited before a fight so they have to keep me in check and make sure I’m ready to do my warm ups and I’m in the right place when I need to be.”

Do you carry that excitement into the cage?

“Absolutely. I’m a fairly excitable, hectic kind of guy anyway so once I get in the cage I tend to have a plan for about a minute then just go crazy. One of the things I learned from The Ultimate Fighter, even though I lost, was to try and calm down and play the game. It’s alright going in there and trying to kill your opponent but I want to be the fighter that everyone is talking about on the night.”

Do you have any message for Erik ahead of the fight?

“I’m not really going to start saying the usual things like ‘I hope it’s an exciting fight’ because genuinely I do. I don’t want it to be over in a few seconds but, at the same time, I don’t want to spend the whole fight pushing each other into the side of the cage. I want our fight to be the fight that everyone remembers after the event.”

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