At the height of the UFC’s Irish Invasion, Chris Fields was the most prominent fighter from the nation who never got to contest a bout in the Octagon, but the Dubliner is hoping that the promotion will be interested in hosting his retirement bout when it returns to his hometown in August.
Last week, the announcement that Fields would return to Cage Warriors on April 18 won the promotion a lot of traction. A former champion at middleweight with the European powerhouse, the Dubliner is looking forward to returning to the banner after a seven-year absence.
“My aim was always to have my last fight or two with Cage Warriors,” Fields told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “It would’ve felt like home to me - it always has. They’ve always been very good to me, the yellow gloves feel right to me.”
A former TUF contestant as well as being a former Cage Warriors titleholder, despite his lack of competition over the last 18 months, Fields’ name was one that was thrust forward by former UFC fighter Cathal Pendred when the promotion announced its Irish return for Aug. 15.
Knowing that he is approaching the last few fights of his storied career, Fields can’t think of a better way to hang up his gloves than to do it following his UFC debut.
If an Octagon bow does not come to fruition, Fields underlined that he would happily compete for the Cage Warriors light heavyweight title instead. Both options, of course, are dependent on the Team KF head coach getting back to winning ways in April.
“I spoke to Graham [Boylan], I told him what I want to do and he’s supportive of the whole thing, he always has been to be honest,” said Fields.
“My plan will be to fight in April, push for the UFC in August and if that’s not coming about then I’ll fight for the Cage Warriors title. But my overall plan is to fight in April, push for the UFC in August and if the fight comes around I’ll just leave my gloves in there...and be done with it - that’s it from me.”
Many Irish fans and media believe that Northern Ireland’s Rhys McKee should be handed a UFC contract if he can capture the Cage Warriors title in Belfast in May, but due to the amount of Irish fighters being signed to Bellator, obvious Irish choices for the UFC’s August card are a few and far between.
Each time the UFC have docked in Dublin it has had local interests on the card. At UFC 93, Tom Egan became the first Irishman to fight for the promotion. At UFC Dublin in 2014, Conor McGregor underlined his star potential to the world and the event also made way for a whole host of Irish debuts. Joseph Duffy was initially slated to headline the 2015 card against Dustin Poirier, but a late exit for the Donegal man saw their bout replaced by Paddy Holohan vs. Louis Smolka.
As far as Fields is concerned, his last ever MMA bout is a story that Irish fans will get behind.
“For me, that would be a nice end to the story. If it doesn’t come about, well then it’ll be the Cage Warriors title [fight] and I’ll leave the gloves down after that one. But it’ll be a fairly special moment for me fighting in the UFC and I think I’d get to make it all about me then...and not a dry eye in the house,” he said, laughing.
Fields revealed that he hadn’t even thought of competing at the Dublin event until Pendred urged him to try to make it happen.
“To be fair, it was Cathal’s idea. He messaged me about it like, ‘Dude, you should do that - jump on that.’ I’ve been kind of eyeing the exit for a while and figuring out how I want to do it. I felt recently it was just starting to get away from me and it wasn’t going to be in my control - it was just going to happen. I was thinking, ‘Sh*t, this is mad, I’m going to end up not having a fight!’” he said.
“I just kind of want to do it on my terms. I feel like either of those situations - whether it’s with the UFC or for the Cage Warriors title - then I’ll just leave my gloves down and be done with it on my own terms.”
Check out Chris Fields’ latest interview on Eurobash. It begins at 1:43:00.