Alan Philpott is primed for another major milestone in his mixed martial arts career tonight.
The Ballymena fighter - known as ‘The Apprentice’ takes on Englishman Nathaniel Wood for the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts Lonsdale (BAMMA) bantamweight title at Dublin’s 3 Arena.
Philpott is in confident form stating: “I’ve never had a better diet. I’m in the best shape of my life and I’ve done everything right.
“I’ve taken it as fun - I’m not stressing myself and not focusing on certain things.
“I’ve been mixing it up in training, trying new things and it has all come together nicely.
“This is something like my 39th fight so I’ve got used to the crowds and atmosphere and I’m looking forward to it.
“I have all the respect in the world for Nathaniel. I think he’s a really good fighter and we get on really well.
“There’s no bad blood between us - it’s just business at the end of the day. We’ll go in there, throw our shots and do our thing.
“I’m just loving the sport for what it is and learning every day.
“Before I would have put pressure on myself when I didn’t need to - I’m more chilled now. I’m happy at home, happy in training. just all-round happy.
“This is a big fight - it’s my third fight on BAMMA and it’s my third title shot so I’m pretty blessed and pretty happy to be getting that shot.
“It’s about going out there and proving myself and having people talk about me for the right reasons and see why I’m getting these title shots.
Looking further down the line, Philpott admits he would love a crack at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) but isn’t getting preoccupied with the possibility.
“If UFC come I would jump at it with two hands - its the Champions League, it’s where you want to be.
“I have a family, as long as I can fend for them, give them what they need in life, have fun and do what I’m doing, I’m happy.
“When people see the more mature me, rather than the immature mouthpiece that people don’t like, they will see my skill set and that will speak for itself and they’ll want me.
“Of course I would like UFC but I’m not just focused on that one thing,” added Philpott, whose clubmate at Ballymena’s IMMA gym continues his UFC crusade tonight when he takes on Russian Rustam Khabilov in London.
Another member of the Linenhall Street gym, Rhys McKee, continues his professional career on the BAMMA Dublin bill against South African Alex Masuku.