After time spent in California at the renowned Team Alpha Male gym, home to the likes of Urijah Faber and Cody Garbrandt, Declan McAleenan (0-1) is looking to make up for some lost time.
The Team Torres fighter made his debut in December, 2015 but has been out of action since. Now tomorrow night in London he will make his Cage Warriors debut and is aiming for this to be the catalyst to a very busy and successful 2017.
We chatted with 'Decky' recently about a number of topics including his time off, training at Team Alpha Male, and Cage Warriors.
Combat Gear- Last fight was in late 2015, why have you taken over a year off? And what have you worked on during that time?
Decky McAleenan- I had to take the time off to let an injury heal up. The first exchange of that fight with James (Gallagher) I broke my hand and it's taking this long to get back.
On my time off I've still been training as normal, two to three times a day, working everything. I also opened kid's and teen's Muay Thai classes at Newry Muay Thai. In the space of a year I already have two Irish champions and one of them is ranked 5th in the UK, so that's kept me busy.
I also recently spent some time in Alpha Male which was great. Got a bit of training with Teruto Ishihara, some sparring and rolling. I also got a few rounds in with Darren Elkins and Andre Fili.
A lot of the team were away with Cody (Garbrant) but the boys coming through over there is crazy. Like you land into sparring and there's about 40 -50 people on the mats. Got a good bit done with an Australia lad, Adam Corrigan, who is a K-1 fighter and was on the the Australia TKD team. Then have to shout out to my main drilling partner JP Buys, the EFC flyweight champ, that boy is a beast. I also got sparring Patrick Lumba, who was defending his Alaskan heavyweight title, and had a few rounds with Ben Rees from England. So had a great mix to train with over there.
CG- Talk about your pro debut and facing James Gallagher?
D McA- It was another fight at the end of the day. Fair play to him getting where he is now, you can't knock him, he's getting the big money now so fair play. It is just a pity my hand broke so early. It could have been a good fight.
CG- What does it mean to you making your Cage Warriors debut and on such a big show in London?
D McA- It's great for me. While I've been out everyone that turned pro the same time have been fighting and making names for themselves. So this is the perfect chance and platform for me to come back and make a name for myself and get people to start talking about me again.
CG- Will you be phased by the situation or how do you think you will handle that pressure?
D McA- The way I look at it is that throughout my life I had any amount of fights in different styles, so it really doesn't bother me. I've fought in front of thousands of people before and I've also fought in front of small crowds. So at the end of the day it's a cage with three people in it, doesn't matter who's watching. Plus I work with Rob Dawson of Mindsport Consulting to keep my head in the game. I'll be ready and looking forward to the show.
CG- What are your thoughts on your opponent Thomas Terdjman (1-0)?
D McA- I thinks he is a good opponent for me to come back to. He's coming off a first round TKO so I am looking forward to coming forward and meeting him in the middle of the cage.
CG- Can we have a prediction?
D McA- I'm expecting him to come forward, meet me in the middle of the cage and then for me to put him away early in the fight.
CG- Let's say you come out of this fight unscathed, no injuries and feeling fresh. Would you jump on the Cage Warriors Dublin card?
D McA- Yes! I've to make up for the 14 months off. If I'm 100% I'll be looking to get on the Dublin card and also the card on the 1st of April in Liverpool. I've been asked to fight on Cage Legacy on March 24th so I'm keeping my options open but I wanna fight now. I'm hungry and I'm ready to go, plus I'm just back from a three week training camp with Team Alpha Male so I'm sharp and ready to go. For which I have to thank my sponsors "@ct1ltd" for helping me financially to make that trip possible.