Ahead of his upcoming fight with Marcin Held at Bellator 59, Phillipe Nover gives Verbal Submission Radio an insight into his year out of the sport, his neck injury and his hopes of getting back into the UFC.
“I definitely had some distractions going on at the time,” admits Nover when asked what prompted his decision to take time out. “I was not in the right frame of mind at the time as I was going through a really bad relationship which took a lot out of me.”
While Nover is fairly close-guarded about the details of the relationship he does make the point that “it is okay to make a woman the priority if that is reciprocated which it was not in this relationship. It was a drain, there was a lot of negativity surrounding me and I was focussing on that when I should have been focussed on my training,” explained Nover.
Not content with wiping the board clean in his personal life, Nover took the difficult decision to make a fresh start in his fight life as well. “If you want to take it up to the next level then you have to work with professional people,” admitted Nover, “I’m a very loyal kind of person so it was difficult to cut ties with people who I class as friends but the guys I now train with are all professionals and do this pretty much for a living.”
“Before I had an approach which was definitely lacking in my fight career,” admits Nover, “but I’m now looking at fighting completely differently.”
Clearly needing time out to sort out his personal baggage, he was also dealing with a neck injury. “I had to take time out for neck surgery,” he revealed, “I had fought with a herniated disc possibly during UFC but I don’t know when exactly. All I know is that it kept getting worse so, after my fight with Robert Emerson, I had an MRI scan and they told me my neck was really bad.”
“I put surgery off for about 8 months,” explains Nover, “then I met a Doctor who put an artificial disc in my neck. It’s crazy to get neck surgery and to come back stronger than ever and I feel that my MMA can take off further than it ever did.”
Returning to the fight game in August this year, Nover chose a Muay Thai fight with Jake Murphy to mark his return to the fight game. “I wanted something local and it was a way to wipe the rust off,” explains Nover when questioned about his choice of fight. “Win or lose I thought it wouldn’t affect my MMA career and luckily it went well.”
Following the Murphy fight, Nover was soon in contact with Bellator and, following the completion of the obligatory paperwork, Nover is now looking forward with excitement to his first fight for the organisation. “This is huge for me; I’m really looking forward to my first fight with Bellator as the talent pool of fighters is huge. These guys are amazing and, if I have any hope of ever getting back into the UFC then I’ve gotta do well on Bellator,” said Nover.
First up is a contest with Marcin Held, a Polish fighter with only two losses in his career. “I’ve been preparing my lower defence, knee bars, ankles and all that,” explains the New Yorker. “I’ve watched him and, although he is only a young kid, he beat the crap out of the adults so I’m preparing all my good defences. I’m expecting him to try to lock-up one of my ankles though.”
On his future plans with Bellator, Nover explains “I have a three fight deal with Bellator because, although their Bellator tournament is great, it didn’t really interest me. I just want to get the wins under my belt on individual fights so the tournament doesn’t really fit into that right now. Maybe in the future but we’ll see.”
When questioned about the possibility of a rematch with Efrain Escudero who also recently signed up with Bellator, Nover laughs, “that would be cool because, as people know, we have a history and he took my Ultimate Fighter finale from me.” said Nover. “I would love to fight him again one day, it’s a possibility but I don’t know if he would or wouldn’t agree to it. It would be an epic fight and maybe the winner could get the UFC contract all over again?”