Chris Fishgold reveals how he claimed his first UFC win

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PRAGUE – English featherweight Chris Fishgold made it second time lucky inside the octagon with an impressive rear-naked choke finish of Sweden’s Daniel Teymur at UFC on ESPN+ 3 in Prague.

Fishgold, the 26-year-old former Cage Warriors champion, couldn’t hide his elation when he chatted with MMAjunkie backstage after his second-round submission win.

“I’ve just got my first win in the UFC,” Fishgold exclaimed. “If I died tomorrow I’d be a happy man. I’ve accomplished a dream here.”

Despite his smiles of victory, Fishgold (18-2-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) revealed his anxiety heading into the bout very nearly got the better of him at O2 arena.

“I was very nervous going into this one, because I’d put everything into this,” Fishgold said. “Coming into this one, it was like: ‘When’s my rent due? If I lose this, what are people gonna say?’ I felt physically sick thinking about it walking out, and I’ve never felt that in a fight. And I think it showed. Going out there I was a bit hesitant. But the main thing is I got the win, it puts me in a better position, and hopefully I’ll be able to perform a bit better next time.”

Fishgold went toe to toe with heavy-handed Swede Teymur (6-3 MMA, 0-3 UFC), but it was his grappling that proved the difference as he secured a tight rear-naked choke for the win.

Fishgold said he knew victory was his as soon as he locked up the hold but admitted he thought he’d secured the win earlier in the contest, only for Teymur to escape a nasty-looking armbar attempt.

“He was tougher than I thought,” Fishgold admitted. “He was very tough, but I knew that going into it. I thought my performance was a bit sloppy, as well, but a win’s a win at the end of the day. I’m all smiles now.”

Those smiles came from the knowledge that things could have turned out very differently for the Scouser.

An MMA prospect as a teenager, Fishgold set clear goals for himself early in his career and, with his own self-imposed deadline looming, he began to doubt whether he would ever achieve his dream of competing at the sport’s highest level.

Looking back at that time in his career, Fishgold admitted he was looking at possible jobs with the British Army when he received the call he had been waiting for his whole career.

“It’s been my dream since I was 14 years old,” he said. “There’s times when I thought I was close to the UFC, and I wasn’t. And (then) I finally got signed. Six months before, I was going to give up. I was actually looking up jobs for the Army when the UFC signed me.

“I remember when I was 17 years old, 18 years old, I said I’d give myself until I’m 25. If I haven’t got to the UFC by the time I turn 26, I’ll start looking for different options. And I got signed a month before I turned 26 years old, a day before the Liverpool card. So I was very happy with that.

“I’d had 20 professional fights, and I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. Although you can always make a living in it, I wanted my dream. I wanted to be signed to the UFC. And I’m now living that dream. I’m meeting all these cool people. I’m here. I’ve got cameras in front me, I’ve got a win, I’ve just got a check. It’s amazing.”

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