This article was originally published on Rochdale Online on 12/1/2017. For this, I interviewed Martin Stapleton about his new contract.
Local cage fighter Martin Stapleton has eyes on a lucrative UFC deal after signing a five-fight contract with the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship.
The news of Stapleton’s contract was confirmed on Wednesday by Cage Warriors President Graham Boylan.
The 33-year-old, who represents SBG Manchester and the Full Contact Performance Centre, had been rumoured to be joining Cage Warriors since leaving rival promoters BAMMA at the end of 2016. He was also close to appearing on a US reality show, which required his release from BAMMA.
Speaking to Rochdale Online, Stapleton said: “There’s a lot I can’t say due to a non-disclosure agreement, but I was approached by one of the biggest Mixed Martial Arts organisations in the world for a reality show.
“For whatever reason it didn’t go ahead, but it’s one of those things. It’s disappointing but I’m not going to get down about it when there are people in much worse situations. As one door closes another has opened with Cage Warriors.”
Now, the Rochdale-based former BAMMA Lightweight World Champion wants to use his new contract to earn a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by the end of the year. He said: “Cage Warriors is shown on BT Sport and FightPass, and this contract will take me to the next level.
“I’ve beaten everyone in Europe, I’m a world champion, and now I want to pick up some good wins against some good fighters. UFC is definitely a realistic goal. Who else are they going to take from Europe?”
Stapleton, nicknamed ‘.50 Cal’, is currently on a five fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since 2014. He will make his Cage Warriors debut in February’s ‘Cage Warriors 80’ event at the O2 Arena, London. A bout agreement has been signed for Stapleton to feature on the undercard of Matt Inman and Karl Amoussou’s fight for the welterweight title, and his opponent will be announced shortly.
After that, Stapleton is eyeing a fight against Liverpudlian rival Paddy Pimblett at the Echo Arena. “Paddy is a big fighter and it would be a good fight, but it’s more about getting his world title”, said Stapleton.
“If the fight was held in Liverpool there’d be a big crowd with a good following from Manchester and Rochdale. It’s a very good feeling to have that support and I really appreciate it, but once I’m in the cage it’s my skills against his.”
Stapleton says his new deal with Cage Warriors will not affect his involvement in the Full Contact Performance Centre, Castleton. He said: “I’m a full time coach at the centre and we’ve got an amazing team there. It will have been open five years in March, and it’s gone from strength to strength.”
Stapleton also took time to praise his nutritionists, Freedom Strength and TT Gains café in Milnrow, who prepare all of the fighter’s meals to his specific nutritional requirements.