NewYorkFighting.com held an exclusive interview with former TUF finalist and returning UFC fighter Phillipe Nover. This article is Part 3 in a 3-part series based on that interview.
Click the link for parts 1 and 2.
Phillipe would like to thank the Brooklyn-based company Future Legend Clothing for their sponsorship over the years, and would especially like to thank all of his fans.
Phillipe “Super” Nover‘s return to the UFC on May 16th in Manila did not come easily. The Brooklyn-based Filipino-American fighter has undergone neck surgery, won a pro Muay Thai bout, and fought actively on the regional and national MMA circuit to build his record for an eventual return to the biggest stage. “Within a few months after [my pro Muay Thai fight] I had another pro MMA fight, and I did well there too, I won a decision against a really tough wrestler,” he said, referencing his fight against Jake Murphy in August 2013.
Nover’s next fight was a highly controversial split-decision loss to the highly touted Bellator standout and leg lock specialist Marcin Held. “I fought in Bellator, I fought one of their top guys and I thought I beat him, but it was a split decision victory according to one judge, for the leg lock specialist. But after that I fought another undefeated guy, who was pretty tough, Darrell Horcher. I’m his only loss and he’s a really big 155’er, and I did well against him, you know, I won a unanimous decision. Before that I fought Derrick Kennington, beat him with another submission… After that I won the belt and defended it once in Ring of Combat.
So I haven’t been relaxing, I’ve been just grinding it out. Enjoying my life too, but grinding it out. Trying to get back in the UFC, as well as working full time as a nurse.”
For his big UFC return, Nover will be making the cut to 145 pounds. “I fought my last Ring of Combat fight at 150, and the weight came off very well” says Nover. “I just have to lose a few more pounds and I can get to 146, and that’s 100% possible. And I still feel strong, and I still feel quick, and I still feel energized.”
Nover’s opponent on May 16th is “The Korean Bulldozer” Yui Chul Nam. Nam is BJJ purple belt, Korean National Jiu Jitsu silver medalist and Tae Kwon Do gold medalist, holds a black belt in Judo, and holds a win over highly regarded featherweight Hacran Dias. He is heavily hyped and respected in Korea, so Nover faces a challenge that will provide an extremely stiff test, with little stateside name recognition if he wins.
Like his nickname, Yui Chul Nam possesses an aggressive, forward-moving, brawling style. In his first UFC fight he expended a tremendous amount of energy in dropping his opponent Kazuki Tokudome multiple times, but appeared to fatigue as the fight went on, particularly in the second round where he was taken down and showed little ability to get back to his feet, even against a fatigued opponent. The third round looked to be a repeat of the second, where Tokudome took the fight to the floor after eating some shots from Nam. However Nam regained his upright position and bullied Tokudome to the mat, controlling the remaining 2 minutes of the round to claim a split decision victory.
Nover did not provide a wealth of details about his gameplan for his Korean opponent Yui Chul Nam, but fans can rest assured that he has done his homework. “I’ve watched plenty of tape on him. He’s been out for a year, but he’s a tough cookie. They did not throw me an easy guy for my first fight back, which I’m happy about, because I’m going to go out there and prove to everybody that I belong in the UFC. I’m impressed with the guy’s ability, but he makes a lot of mistakes when he fights, and I think I can capitalize on it. So come May 16th I’m gonna get the finish. He’s gonna get knocked out or submitted.”
Perhaps hoping to exploit his opponent’s conditioning, Nover has been training extremely hard and claims to be in the best shape of his life. Like many NYC-based fighters, he gets his training in at a number of locations. “I do bounce around. I have my main coach which is Jason Strout, who is also my striking coach, he’s at Church Street Boxing in New York City. And I also go to Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and I’m there with John Danaher, and Renzo Gracie himself. And I also go to Edge Hoboken, which is an MMA school and they also have a good focus on wrestling, and Dave Esposito is my coach over there, and we have lots and lots of good talented guys that come down. Frankie Edgar comes down… and sometimes I go out to Jersey and link up with Frankie and a couple of MMA fighters. And I’m just linking up with all professional coaches, all professional fighters who are in the same type of situation, in the UFC or Bellator or World Series [of Fighting], or OneFC, just training with pro athletes, and this is what I’ve been doing.”
Although he lives and trains mostly in New York City, professional MMA is still illegal in the Empire State, the only place in the United States where that is the case. Nover provided his thoughts on the ongoing MMA ban in New York. “This has been the longest debate forever, since I was involved in mixed martial arts. I actually had my first professional fight in 2003… and here we are and I’ve been fighting for the last 12-13 years, and it’s still not legal in my home town of New York, which is like the capital of the world. And it’s pretty sad.”
Nover seems optimistic, however. “My second dream would be to fight here in New York, and I think it could happen pretty soon. This is the time. And you know we have so many venues, here in Brooklyn, in New York City, the Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, I mean this is a crazy amount of people, loyal followers of mixed martial arts. And I’d love to be part of it. I’d love to represent Brooklyn as well. I’m a local kid who grew up in Brooklyn. I think I would have a lot of support here.”
And what about the possibility of fighting on both the first UFC card in the Philippines, and the first card in New York down the line? “Wow, that would just be insane. I mean I was smiling ear to ear when I got back in the UFC, and then on top of that being on the Manila card, I was just doing backflips in excitement. And ever since then I’ve been training my ass off as hard as I can. I’m in the best shape of my life right now, I’m linking up with the best teammates, the best coaches, and you’re definitely going to see it on May 16th.”
UFC Fight Night Manila airs at 10am/7am -ET/PT
Written by NewYorkFighting.com Contributing-Editor: Kyle Antonelli
Kyle Antonelli is a lifelong martial arts enthusiast and has been following MMA since 2002. He has a background in wrestling and teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he has trained since 2005. Kyle is also a licensed attorney in New YorkYork State.
Tags: Brooklyn, MMA, NewYork, NYC, Philippines, Phillipe Nover, Renzo Gracie, UFC, UFC Manila, UFCFightNight