Interview: Top European Bantamweight MMA Fighter Paul McVeigh

Irish MMA fighter Paul McVeigh is one of the top bantamweight fighters in the UK. McVeigh had a short stint on the 14th season of the “Ultimate Fighter” reality series, losing a tough decision to Louis Gaudinot. McVeigh is currently getting ready to make his BAMMA debut against Erik Perez on Dec. 10, at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England.

I recently caught up with McVeigh, and we spoke about everything from his experiences on the “Ultimate Fighter” to his hopes for the future.

David: When did you start training for MMA?

Paul: I started training a long time ago. I kinda boxed when I was a kid, and I went from there when I was like 15.

David: How frustrating was it to not make it to the “Ultimate Fighter” house?

Paul: It was kind of a tough situation. It was my first time dealing with that sort of media, cameras and different guys telling you what to do, and not having your teammates there and stuff. It always sucks to lose a fight.

David: How are preparations going for your next fight against Erik Perez?

Paul: Everything’s going really well… Everything’s been going really perfect, and I couldn’t be any happier with my camp.

David: What do you think about people who say British MMA isn’t where US MMA is?

Paul: They’re very accurate aren’t they? It’s kinda a population thing. There are more people doing MMA in America, some of the best coaches are there, most of the successful fighters in the UK have training camp in the states. It’s definitely something people should do if you’re serious about your training and stuff. I got some relationships with people who are looking to go over this year and spend some extended time with some of the American camps, see how they’re doing it. The importance of wrestling as well, it’s a big factor if you want to be successful in MMA. It’s something we don’t have either in the EU or the UK, but it’s becoming better.

David: How do you compare yourself to the top bantamweights in the UFC? Would you say you’re there already?

Paul: Hell no (laughs), after watching Urijah Faber [vs. Brain Bowles], I’m sitting there watching going [expletive] I hope I never fight that guy. Again I’m working and constantly improving. As soon as I stop improving, that’s when I’m gonna say well maybe I shouldn’t be competing at this level. I don’t think anyone I ever fought; even people that have beaten me have ever outclassed me… Again I have a long way to go. On a scale of one to ten, I might be a five in terms of where I potentially could be and where I need to be. That kinda drives me on to improve I suppose.

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