Liverpool’s Chris Fishgold (18-2-1) got back on track in Prague last month, defeating Daniel Teymur with a second round guillotine, bouncing back from being on the receiving end of his first loss in three years in his UFC debut against Calvin Kattar.
We caught up with the former Cage Warriors lightweight champion to discuss his plans for 2019 as well as the MMA Culture in gyms, including ones in his hometown of Liverpool.
Danty: So tell me, where is your head at following your win in Prague?
Chris Fishgold: I just want to get straight back in to be honest. The win was amazing, you know? I’ve never been finished before, prior to me loss against Kattar. So I had a lot of nerves coming into this fight to be fair. While I’m still in everyone’s face and everyone is still speaking about the win I thought let’s get back in. Let’s keep the ball rolling.
D: What’s the MMA culture in Liverpool like?
CF: You know what? To be fair, It’s massive. I started in 2007. Back then, and I think everyone knows, MMA wasn’t as massive as it is now. I was fighting in little sports tours. I was 15 or 16 when I started. The guys back then who were coming up from the city were tough guys. There was already a lot of people that were known from MMA, like Paul Cahoon. He fought some big shows. Terry Etim, he was in the UFC. Jason Tan, he’s been in the UFC. I think from there we’ve always been a fighting city. Boxing has always been massive. We pride ourselves in our boxing, in our combat sports. MMA sort of took its place from there. I’ve seen it grow and grow. When McGregor came, not just for the UK but in the world in general, he got people that may have seen the sport as brutal to be interested in it, to get involved. The class has grown from when he started to what it is now. Every other person in the city is training MMA, fighting in MMA, or know somebody who’s fighting in MMA. It’s good that we have a fighting city; we’re never short of training partners or sparring partners or people on the mat in the city.
D: Do you see fighters today coming up to compete in the UFC like you did, or with the same fire?
CF: Yeah, straight up. Not just here, I trained all over the world. Done a little bit of training in the states. I went to Thailand and train there, I went to Australia to train there. Everywhere I go, I see hungry kids training. Where I started, it becomes obsessive. They come once, the next thing you know they’re in the gym as often as you are. They’re learning, taking stuff in. When you start, you’re kind of like a nail, not like a bullying type, but because it’s so technical you’re always the nail; You are going to get tapped. Everyone learns that way by doing that and I see these kids get tapped a few times from a couple of things. You see how they move. You wait a couple of months and they still come back every day. And, I see them doing stuff differently, rolling. It’s good to watch. I see that all around the world. Whether it’s kids or adults, when they come in you see that personality. There’s only a few left to have that addictive personality, that want to do it more. It’s just really great to see. I just hope that they stay at it. The sky’s the limit when you stay at it with repetition. As long as people stay focused they’ll go all the way.
D: There’s quite a bit of activity in the featherweight rankings. What’s your assessment of the division?
CF: I think the featherweight division is stacked. Aldo beat Jeremy [Stephens] so he’s still in the mix. You got Zabit, you still have Jeremy Stephens; he’s a hard match for anyone. Still got Alex Volkanovski, you got Brian Ortega who just fought for the title. Featherweight’s one of those stacked divisions because everyone’s still got that knockout power but you’re really quick as well. It’s so fast. That was a transition when I dropped down to featherweight. I forgot how fast these guys were when I had to do that. I think my fight with Kattar was a bit of ring rust. Like I said, it was an eye-opener. You can dominate the fight all the way through but it takes that one shot. People are a lot more composed and stuff. From my personal opinion, I think it’s a stacked division. But that’s also great because you never stop to show your skills set. My plan is fight by fight, taking my time. By the end of 2019 I’ll be in the top 10. I think I’d get me ring rust out of me. The last fight was a bit chaotic. Due to me being nervous I feel like I should have finished them within the first round. He just got the better of me I was thinking “Shit, if I lose this…” Nevertheless, I got the win I want to take one fight at a time. I just want to climb the rankings and see where I end up.
D: So, it will be slow, steady climb through the rankings then?
CF: No, no. I figured I’d be making some noise on the along the way. Like I said when I got Kattar he was a top 15 featherweight in the division. I got caught by a lucky shot but I feel I could stand equal against him. I felt like I dominated up until I got caught. I think nine times out of ten I beat Kattar. I feel was just like a lucky shot like I said I do want one more fight but then I’ll start I start climbing up. I’ll see who my next fight is. If I get a top 15 for the weekend or if you give me someone who’s not ranked again but I think the fights after that I’ll start calling people out. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for whoever they get me. It’s my dream to be fighting in the UFC but you do want to be progressing, you know?
D: How is the recuperation going? I recall you saying you wanted to get the London card but you have a 1 month medical suspension?
CF: Oh, yeah. Actually, what I read was they said it was 180 days. If you can look at my finger.
After the fight I don’t know if it was from a grab or a bad angle. If you can see it, I still need to get that sorted but apart from that it feels so-so. Now, I can still make a fist with it. I don’t know if I went for a guillotine or whatever. They said one month but I read up again and it said a hundred eighty days. I’m going to get this sorted this week and as soon as they let me fight, I want to fight again. I spoke to Sean[Shelby] after the fight. I thanked him for giving me the opportunity to fight once again in the UFC. “We’ll get you back fighting as soon as possible,” he said. And, I’m grateful I’m living the dream I just want to stay active keep the ball rolling. I said it enough times: It’s the entertainment business, so it took me a long time. But, I learned you’re only worth as much as the amount of people that want to see you fight, so I’ll keep going. I want to go at a hundred miles an hour and have these entertaining fights.
Chris Fishgold will face Makwan Amirkhani when the UFC heads to Stockholm, Sweeden for UFC on ESPN+ 10 on 1st June 2019.