Sunday Column: The Smile Of The Triumphant Honeybadger Lights Up Antwerp

Philip Mulpeter returned to Cage Warrirors for the first time since 2014 last evening and what a moment it proved to be.

There are plenty of fighters with good background stories that light up a night of cage fighting and Philip Mulpeter has one of them.

Last evening in Antwerp, Belgium, Mulpeter returned to action in Cage Warriors for the first time since 2014 and fought back superbly to defeat a durable and very game Jan Quaeyhaegens.

The fact the Irishman pulled the win out the bag in the third round when the tide looked to be turning against him is headline worth enough, but if you scratch below the surface a little more and understand the context in which this happened, you will truly begin to understand what a remarkable achievement it was.

Mulpeter is widely considered an ‘OG’ of the Irish MMA scene and very unlucky to have never made the step up to the UFC like some of his fellow teammates did.

Speaking backstage last night after the fight, Mulpeter described how three years ago he fell out of love with the sport, went back to working on a building site and went through the hardship of battling depression.

All this combined gave him the perfect opportunity to call time on his career, but in adversity he chose to prosper rather than give up and there’s a lesson to be learnt there for anyone in any walk of life.

Flanked by teammates, coaches and friends Chris Fields and Owen Roddy, Mulpeter took just his second fight in three years and what a return it was. After nearly finishing the fight in the first round Mulpeter had to go through the fire of a strong Quaeyhaegens fight back and he did so will flying colours.

The smile on his face after the fight said more than any words could’ve done.

He was a man happy with the win, happy to be fighting, and most importantly, seemingly happy with life.

The mental side of MMA is the most underdeveloped aspect of the sport and punches, kicks, elbows, submissions etc. are truly pretty useless when aimed by a fighter is not totally mentally checked in.

Last night might not have been the performance of Mulpeter’s career, but it was no doubt a huge moment for the ‘Honeybadger,” who now can’t be far away from earning himself a shot at Cage Warriors gold.

Lesson of the week is that there’s always a way back, both in and outside of the cage.

Roll on next week!

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