Ten months from his last outing, Northern Irish fan favorite Alan Philpott is adamant that he will make a lasting impression when he debuts under the ONE Championship banner at Thursday’s Warriors Series.
After being left on the sidelines during ACB’s hiatus in 2018, Philpott tried unsuccessfully to join the Bellator ranks. “The Apprentice” was also on the verge of getting a short notice call-up to face Kai Kara-France at UFC Adelaide before the promotion opted for Elias Garcia instead.
A recent invitation to tryout for ONE’s Warrior Series gave Philpott a new lease on life, but it wasn’t until he finished displaying his prowess on the pads that he felt he had found “his calling” with the Asian promotion.
“They line you up and you’re doing drills, but it’s only 60 percent,” Philpott told Eurobash, reliving his tryout experience for ONE Championship’s Warrior Series.
“We went through all the ground position, then we did pads. And, mate, when I was on those pads the whole place was looking at me. I was just zoned out. I had talked to my coach Johnny before it and we had decided that we were going for this. With me and Johnny, he’ll call out a combination and we’ll go, but then we’ll just flow without saying anything; I’m throwing strikes and he’s just catching them. It’s an unbelievable thing, but as we were doing it we were smiling at each other, we were fully into it and just zoned out, simulating a fight.”
Clearly enjoying himself as he went through the motions, it wasn’t until the session was called to a halt that the Next Generation fighter—now a coach at Legends MMA gym in Sydney, Australia—realized that he had made a lasting impression on his fellow ONE hopefuls.
“Then they shouted ‘Time!’ We stopped and the whole place just erupted. I was like, ‘Sh*t!’ It was so good. I left that day confident [that I would earn a call up] so as soon as I got home I went into fight camp. It just felt like that was it, this is my calling,” he remembered.
Despite a hellish ten months of inactivity, Philpott believes his times on the sidelines have strengthened his resolve ahead of what he hopes will be a breakthrough moment with ONE when he clashes with Min Jong Song on Thursday morning in Singapore.
“I feel complete; I feel like a complete fighter,” Philpott said. “There are usually all these little doubts, but I don’t feel that this time. I’ve never felt like this. Hand on heart I’ve never felt this calm, relaxed or mentally strong. I’m a martial artist, so no matter what it takes I’m going to do it. I’ll make the weight, I’ll pass the [hydration test], I’ll show that I’m serious, show that I’m professional and then I’ll go out and have the best performance of my life.”
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Alan Philpott interview begins at 40:20.