Mixed martial arts star Alan Philpott woke up this morning as the new Lonsdale bantamweight champion after a superb victory in Dublin last night.
The Ballymena fighter won his contest with Englishman Nathaniel Wood after the bout was stopped in the third round due to excessive bleeding to a nose wound for the Londoner.
It meant Philpott - known as ‘The Apprentice’ - claimed the title in an exciting night of MMA action on the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) promotion at the 3 Arena.
“It means the world to me,” said Philpott.
“I could have screwed my whole career up by missing my weight for a second time.
“I’m young but I’m at the stage now where I have to start taking it seriously and people need to see that I’m taking it seriously.
“If I make those types of mistakes, people aren’t going to take me seriously and I could end up doing more damage to my body and ruining my career before it even starts.
“To be honest, I maybe did under-estimate his strength a bit.
“I thought I was going to go in there, slam him on his head, beat him up and just finish it.
“I rushed it at the start and that maybe took a bit of energy out of me. I felt as if I burned myself out a wee bit early and that’s why it did take me a wee bit longer to get going.
“But when I hit him with that upward elbow and saw his nose I started picking him off and finding my rhythm. It was a great shot.
“I did think I was either going to get a choke or a leg lock. I’ve been pulling those off in training but I rushed it at the start and it set me back a wee bit.
“Even though I was leading the fight, in my head I was playing catch-up to where I wanted to be.
“I would have loved a submission because I worked really hard on the ground - I want to show people I’m not just a striker - but there’s loads to work on.
“I’m not overly, 100 per cent happy with that performance.
“There were things I would have liked to have done better but I got the win fairly and that’s the main thing.”
Philpott has also revealed the new-found maturity which he hopes will help catapult him to the highest levels of the sport.
“I’m thinking about other people now - it’s not just about me.
“On the media when I would have seen other fighters get a bit of attention before I would have thrown in a few smart remarks to just make sure people knew that I was there.
“I don’t need that. People are going to know me for the right reasons and for being myself.
“I want to be known as the professional that I am and for my skill set and for being a dead-on guy.
“When something needs to be said, I’ll say it, that’s not going to change, but there are different ways to do it,” added Alan.
* On the same BAMMA bill, there was a win for Philpott’s IMMA gym club-mate Rhys McKee but in the UFC promotion in London, there was defeat for another member of the Linenhall Street gym, Norman Parke.