Nick Catone Constantinos Philippou UFC 128
Constantinos Philippou throws a kick at UFC 128

Constantinos Philippou, against Jorge Rivera at UFC 133 this Saturday, is hoping that the third time is the charm.

Originally, Philippou was featured on the eleventh season of ”The Ultimate Fighter,” as a middleweight hopeful. He was eliminated in the opening round by Jospeh Henle. It looked like his aspirations for entering the world’s largest mixed martial arts stage would have to be put on hold.

Philippou continued to plug away on the regional circuit, where he became a staple for the popular Ring of Combat promotion, defeating notables Victor O’Donnell and Uriah Hall. While the Cyprus native was gearing up for another pivotal moment of his career, the infamous UFC call came, and on just five-days notice, he was back in the fold.

“I had no idea. I actually had a fight scheduled a month later for Bellator and I was taking a couple of weeks off thinking I’m going to have enough time to prepare for that fight, and it was actually five days notice that (the UFC) called me,” said Philippou, recalling his short notice venture at UFC 128 last March.

The now Merrick, N.Y., transplant was filling in for an injured Dan Miller, taking on scrappy wrestler Nick Catone. The upside was that Philippou would earn the favor of the UFC brass by stepping up. The downside was knowing that he wasn’t adequately prepared for such a momentous opportunity.

“I was happy that I was fighting for the UFC, but not happy that I was out of shape, but I kind of had no choice because you never know,” he told MMAWeekly.com.

“You say no, then who’s to say that they’re going to call you again? So I had to take it.”

The former pro boxer (who came up just short in 2005 for the famed New York Golden Gloves tournament after just two months in the U.S.) had adequate time for prepare for his next match-up, despite yet again serving as a late replacement. Philippou filled in for an injured Riki Fukuda, opposite Rafael Natal in a pivotal bout for both men. Natal was winless in his first two UFC contests, losing a decision to Rich Attonito in his Octagon debut before going to a draw with Jesse Bongfeldt last December. And if that wasn’t enough, Natal is somewhat of an acquaintance.

Philippou is trained under the tutelage of both Ray Longo and Matt Serra, the former UFC welterweight champion. Serra began his career under Renzo Gracie, who awarded him his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Serra’s loyalty is unwavering, so when he first heard word that Philippou was taking on Natal, he was a little disappointed to say the least. Why? Because Natal is a student under the prolific Gracie fighter.

“Matt wasn’t really happy with me taking the fight, but I really feel that it was a good fight for me, although Matt didn’t agree with me,” recalled the 31-year-old.

“I had to take it. I felt that it was a good fight for me. When I told Matt, he wasn’t happy about it, but it was ultimately my decision so I took the fight.”

In a strange turn of fate, Philippou was once again shuffled in the deck when Alessio Sakara had withdrawn from his UFC 133 bout with Jorge Rivera due to injury. Philippou was pulled from the fight with Natal and will now be taking on a tested veteran and former contender on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view.

“This time is different. I had a few weeks. I’ve had enough time to prepare. Even though they switched my opponent last minute, it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m in shape, I don’t care who I fight. I think this is good for me. I’m going to win this one,” said Philippou, who is not short on confidence heading into the match-up.

“It’s obviously the biggest fight of my life. When I win this fight, it will be a huge step for me, and finally I’ll get to show (the UFC) who I really am, that I can actually fight, because the last two times I showed them that I basically sucked. Nobody really knows if I’m a good fighter yet because both times that they actually saw me, I was out of shape and I didn’t have anything to show. So I’m hoping this time I get to show what I’ve got.”

“Definitely this fight is not going the distance. I’m hoping second or third round I get to finish Jorge Rivera.”

Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.

Brian Lopez-Benchimol is a contributing writer for MMAWeekly.com.
Follow
@bbenchimol718 on Twitter or e-mail Brian a question or comment.

Follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Coach Andre Pederneiras details Jose Aldo's 155-pound title plans, says UFC was on board

  • 28 days ago
  • 111 views

Jose Aldo has always been very clear about his intentions of avenging his loss to Conor McGregor – in whatever division that may be. But as he prepares to follow that journey, he doesn't quite unders read news >>

Conor McGregor 'not in my plans for the next 10 months,' says UFC President Dana White

  • 21 days ago
  • 9 views

In spite of Conor McGregor’s recent clues that we might be seeing him sooner than originally expected, UFC president Dana White is still not counting on the lightweight champion for ten months.Filed read news >>

UFC 207 pre-fight facts: Garbrandt looking for number two slot on bantamweight knockout list

  • 25 days ago
  • 31 views

The UFC’s year-end fight card is always one of its biggest. That trend continues as the promotion closes out 2016.Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

UFC 207's Cody Garbrandt talks about the time he got stabbed at a country bar

  • 22 days ago
  • 19 views

Before he stepped into the cage, UFC bantamweight title challenger Cody Garbrandt had been forced to fight for his life.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Dana White Reiterates Conor McGregor is Not in His Immediate Plans (video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 19 days ago
  • 52 views

UFC president Dana White stands by his belief that Conor McGregor won't be back in the Octagon until late in 2017. read news >>

UFC 207's Dong Hyun Kim wanted 'Fight of the Night' but will settle for narrow win

  • 17 days ago
  • 20 views

Dong Hyun Kim’s plans for a “Fight of the Night” at UFC 207 obviously fell a bit short.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Max Holloway will 'defend the interim title 10 times' if champ Jose Aldo isn't available

  • 17 days ago
  • 36 views

UFC interim featherweight champion Max Holloway plans to stay busy if he can’t get a title-unifier with primary titleholder Jose Aldo.Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos read news >>

Michael Bisping just threw a wrench in fellow UFC champ Tyron Woodley's plans

  • 12 days ago
  • 917 views

For the first time in his career, UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley is in high demand. All sorts of opponents are clamoring to fight him, and he’s determined to get the biggest matchup possible.Fi read news >>

UFC ditches plans for March 3 event in Las Vegas on eve of UFC 209

  • 10 days ago
  • 18 views

The UFC’s initial plan for a dual-event weekend in March has changed.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Dana White offers Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather $25 million each and PPV cut

  • 6 days ago
  • 23 views

UFC President Dana White has stepped in between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, blasting the boxing champ’s offer to the Irish UFC champ and countering with his own. Filed under: Featured, News, read news >>