Philip De Fries’ resurgence and capture of the KSW heavyweight title was one of the great stories in European MMA in 2018.
Having revealed his battle to overcome anxiety after climbing to the top of the Polish promotion’s ladder, fans and media alike have pondered how much his mental health had an impact on his early career, specifically his outings in the UFC’s Octagon where he amassed a record of 2-3 from 2011 to 2013.
On the latest episode of Eurobash, the British goliath explained that not only has the anxiety issue been put to bed, but he is now brimming with confidence as he counts down the days to his KSW 47 super fight against light heavyweight champion, Tomasz Narkun.
“Since I’ve beaten that anxiety, not only do I not have anxiety, I’m extremely confident,” De Fries told Eurobash. “When I was taking the pills for the anxiety, I was fighting, but I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m an absolute killer,’ or, ‘I’m going to kill this guy,’ I was thinking, ‘What if this happens?’ With each win, I’m not only becoming anxiety free, I’m becoming more and more confident. I feel great and it’s going to take a lot to stop me.
“I sometimes say that if I didn’t have the anxiety my career could have been totally different,” he added. “But if I didn’t have the anxiety I might be a completely different person, or just went on the drink or had a totally different life. Maybe the anxiety even helped me a bit? You’ve got to put a positive spin on things.”
In hindsight, De Fries can’t help but feel as though he was defeated before he even stepped into the Octagon on a few occasions.
“Without a doubt [it would be different if this version of me fought in the UFC],” said De Fries.
“The fights that I lost in the UFC, especially the Todd Duffee and Matt Mitrione fights, I totally lost my bottle, I didn’t fight. I didn’t even throw a punch…I was waiting there to get murdered. Don’t get me wrong, those guys are killer fighters. I could fight them again and I could lose again, but I just don’t feel like I fought. I just bottled it. I wasn’t even fighting basically.”
The towering Sunderland native does flirt with the idea of competing in the UFC again, but underlined how happy he is at the moment under the KSW banner.
“I’m very, very happy with KSW. I’d like to fight more often, and obviously there’s huge money in KSW, but KSW treat me very well and they way it’s going, I don’t think I’m leaving. We’ll have to see what’s happening, we’ll have to see where I’m at, but obviously I do like a load of money too!
“I’m living a good life now, I’ve got my girls, but I wouldn’t mind going back to see what people would say about me,” he continued, “But, like I said, I’m earning good money in KSW, the owners are very respectful and I really like them.”
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Phil De Fries interview beings at 28:30.