Growing up I started doing kickboxing as a kid when I happened to catch a couple of UFC shows and I knew I wanted to do this fighting or something like it.
As “Ultimate Fighting” infiltrated Calgary, my interest increased and it seemed like the direction I wanted to go. I liked the “no rules” aspect of it, because you had to use various techniques. You had to play with a full deck to be competitive.
As I watch the sport nowadays, I like how it has evolved. It is truly the most dynamic martial arts competition there is. It’s just an incredible evolution between day one and now. Each year you see fighters pushing the envelope as to what techniques are successful. It changes each year, and I’m just honoured to be a part of it.
And I’m excited about this week, which has already been awesome. I love it out here in Montreal. I can definitely feel a buzz from fans. They really love MMA out here. I’ve had lots of people walking around asking for an autograph. The attention isn’t as much as for Calgary, naturally, because I’m from there, but it’s been good.
I’ve been doing a bunch of stuff for the UFC, including a fun little Movember thing on Wednesday, where they had a barber come in and give me a shave. I had scruff on my face but now it’s nicely groomed. I’m helping out, it’s for charity, and I was doing it along with my fellow fighters on Saturday’s card, Patrick Cote and Antonio Carvalho. It was great to have Antonio join in. We all know him with a big beard, which he always has, but this time he’s sporting a good mustache.
As far as training goes, fight week is just very general. Basically moving around, feeling good, practising one or two things you want to do in your fight. It’s not intense, just more neuromuscular stuff and trying to get all your techniques dialed in.
This fight against Constantinos Philippou represents a challenge for me. He’s a very tough guy. I believe I have the skills to win, but now I need to find out if I can pull it off. I figured this was a fight that would eventually happen. We’ve fought two of the same people (Riki Fukuda and Court McGee).
I think it’s going to be a very tactical matchup. He’s not just a banger, he’s a thinker. The question will be how do I get around some of his tactics? He can be very technical, but he also hits very hard, so I want to mitigate his power. He’s got a blue belt in jiu-jitsu, I’ve got a brown belt, so maybe if it goes to the ground I can work it to my advantage. I obviously want to get the fight to my strong areas and away from his.
It’s an exciting opportunity to test myself, but I love the challenge and I don’t get nervous. It’s time for me to do what I gotta do.
Middleweight Nick (The Promise) Ring takes on Costa Philippou at UFC 154 in Montreal on Nov. 17, on pay-per-view. Watch live preliminary fights at 8 p.m. ET on Sportsnet and early prelims on Sportsnet.ca at 6 p.m. ET.