Next month will see undefeated welterweight fighter Gunnar Nelson fight brawler Rick Story in his first outing since his impressive Dublin win against Zak Cummings.
Further down the card however, is a fighter whose comeback performance in the Irish capital stole him some headlines of his own: Cathal Pendred.
The soft-spoken Irishman’s rise to fight alongside the world’s MMA elite in the UFC is, in many ways, unlikely.
A teenager rugby player who won the prestigious Leinster Schools Cup, Pendred was a contemporary of professionals like Cian Healy and Eoin O’Malley, and can count Luke Fitzgerald among his opponents.
However, despite the unusual route to MMA, he says his personal transition to fight in the octagon felt natural.
‘MMA combined all the aspects I loved from rugby,’ he tells me.
‘I loved the one-on-one. I would pick out a guy on the opposition team and aim to beat him, to spoil his game.’
Rugby is the secret to Pendred’s impressive wrestling which, though usually the element weakest in European fighters, is one of his key attributes.
While the UFC has seen cross-sport athletes come through from the NFL like Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione, Pendred is the first fighter with a rugby background to enter the organisation – but he’s confident he won’t be the last.
‘My Facebook, my Twitter is brimming with guys who play rugby asking for advice on going into MMA,’ he says.
The similarities with wrestling are certainly there: in the low body positions, the balance, the scrummaging and the hard tackling.
But in his UFC debut, the TUF alumnus didn’t have a chance to show off that side of his game, as an onslaught by Mike King threatened to put him away early and crush the expectant Dublin crowd.
Pendred, however, had other ideas – displaying the kind of heart and determination that has characterised fighters from the British Isles as he came back to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a second round rear-naked choke that sent the baying crowd into a frenzy.
‘I’d love to credit the crowd – the crowd were amazing,’ says Pendred
‘But I feel as though it doesn’t matter where I was, I was always going to come back and win that fight. That’s the fighter I am. I never count myself out. Never.’
It’s a philosophy that seems to be a hallmark of Pendred and his teammates at John Kavanagh’s Straight Blast Gym in Dublin.
All four of Kavanagh’s fighters won that night, a talented quartet of martial artists who seem to share an unshakeable confidence behind very different exteriors, from the stoicism of Gunnar Nelson to the brash charisma of Conor McGregor.
The calm, quietly confident Pendred, meanwhile, believes that he will surprise his critics from fight to fight. As his head coach points out, he’s still learning – and the sky’s the limit.
‘I’m learning on the job and I’m improving fight to fight,’ he says.
‘When I have a fight, if you look at the skill sets, I’m used to being the one that looks like they have less – but then I’ll drop someone with one hand.
‘I’m catching up with the guys who’ve been doing it for years, and now I think I’m almost even.’
Perhaps it’s being the underdog for so long that’s taught Pendred to always count on himself – or perhaps it’s that SBG magic.
You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking they’d put something in the water over at Kavanagh’s gym.
‘SBG is not like most gyms,’ he says.
‘We’re not looking to compete with each other. We improve each other and we improve ourselves.’
‘It’s like a university. We come in and it’s free-flowing. We’re like the nerds,’ he laughs. ‘We stay after school and learn.’
Pendred will return to welterweight to fight Russian grapple Gasan Umalatov in Stockholm next month, after stepping up to middleweight to fight Mike King.
But it’s a weight he’s comfortable at – the weight at which he won a title under the Cage Contender banner just a year into starting mixed martial arts.
Pendred, who holds a science degree, believes the unhealthy approach to cutting weight is harming fighters’ performances and leading to underwhelming fights.
‘They think it’s an advantage,’ he says of drastic weight cuts.
‘But it’s an advantage that’s not actually an advantage because they gas after one or two rounds.
‘They’ll go ten rounds in training and they can’t understand it, but it’s because they dehydrated so much to make the weight. It’s just demanding too much.’
It is ironically, one of the few aspects of the sport that its critics don’t seem to mind, despite its dangers.
They’re far more likely to point to the perceived brutality of the sport, or the behaviour of some of its more colourful fighters.
Pendred’s teammate and fellow Irishman McGregor is already a household name in Ireland and the fast-talking featherweight is already finding himself scrutinised for everything he does.
With Pendred now in the spotlight, he too knows he has responsibilities.
‘MMA is a young sport,’ he says.
‘So it’s important for the fighters to set a great example.’
‘We want to change the negative perceptions of the sport, to educate the public.’
And his prediction for Stockholm?
‘I’m putting him away first round,’ he says.
‘I’m announcing my arrival to the UFC welterweight division.’
Cathal Pendred will fight Gasan Umalatov on 4 October in Stockholm, Sweden