Dean Reilly – “I’m looking to be the best version of myself every day”

Dean Reilly makes his long awaited return to the Cage Warriors cage after a rough couple of years which nearly resulted in the Featherweight fighter hanging up the 4oz gloves for good. After racking up a record of 5-2, Reilly then suffered three back to back losses which really made him consider his options in the sport. But it was a testament to just how close and supportive the Dinky Ninja team are which kept him competing in the sport he loves. “During my time away from fighting I was training and giving problems to all of our best guys. Robert Whiteford (Current UFC Fighter) and I are main training partners and he was always on my case to get back doing it. I was also watching JoJo Calderwood and Conor McGregor and thinking to myself that they were doing similar stuff to what I was doing in the gym. So why shouldn’t I be doing it on the same level.”

After a year out of the sport to Reilly returned to the cage at Cage Warriors 57 back in July 2013 and he picked up an impressive 22 second knockout win over Mick Kay. He was then scheduled to fight at Cage Warriors 68 show in Liverpool against Lawrence Fitzpatrick, but unfortunately Fitzpatrick suffered an injury a few days before the fight which resulted in the bout being scrapped from the card. While training hard for a fight and then having it cancelled a few days before is devastating, Reilly is more focused on what he can do going forward as opposed to dwelling on the past. “I was obviously gutted about the fight being pulled. It was the Tuesday and I was in the middle of a weight cut and a haircut when I found out it wasn’t going ahead. Shit happens, there is no point on dwelling on it.”

Reilly now has 100% focus on his next fight and the undefeated Irishman Tommy McCafferty who will be making his Cage Warriors debut. So aside from a quick Sherdog search, just how much does Reilly know about his opponent? “Well I know he has two arms and two legs. He trains with a good bunch of guys and he will be well coached. I don’t spend a lot of time studying guys. What if they come out completely differently? Should I ask them to switch back to how I have been studying them? Haha.”

It’s fair to say that for Reilly having a good team around him has been detrimental in his career to date and also key to opening up his options for endeavours outside of the cage. The Dinky Ninjas Fight Team’s recent activity has propelled the gym to the forefront of tops gyms in the UK and for Reilly seeing his teammates hit the heights of the UFC has been the icing on the cake. “It’s great seeing JoJo and Rob in the UFC. They work so hard and I feel like a proud older brother watching them. It’s very inspiring to me as both a fight and a coach. My long term goal is to turn the Griphouse into one of the World’s premier gyms which regularly puts fighters into the UFC.”

The Dublin Cage Warriors cards always generate a huge fan following and with the recent boom of MMA stars coming out of Ireland this card is perhaps perfectly timed in respect of gaining maximum exposure for the promotion. The popularity of these cards also make them a very attractive offering for any fighter and Reilly is certainly looking forward to fighting in Dublin. “The Dublin shows are always epic. Ian Dean has been trying to get me on a few shows and I was trying to get on the New Year show (Cage Warriors last trip to Dublin at CWFC 63) but to no avail. But yeah getting to fight in Dublin is very cool.”

Its publicly known that it is very tough for a professional fighter in the UK to survive purely on their fight cheques alone and more and more fighters are looking to expand their empires to support not only their martial arts goals but also to support their families and day to day lifestyles. So for a fighter like Reilly who has only fought twice in two years, how difficult is it to only pick up two pay cheques in two years? “Well I coach in the Griphouse Gym so it’s not like I am solely dependent on fighting to pay the bills. Only the UFC guys can really rely on that. My view is that your own life is your responsibility so get a fucking job if fighting isn’t paying the bills.”

Reilly definitely hasn’t had an easy ride so far in his career but he is still young and highly regarded in the sport. But not everything has been negative for the young Scot who has found a number of highlights in the sport. “My last fight felt like I was finally putting my gym level of training into a fight. So my last win for me was very cool. Also cornering my good friend Robert Whiteford in some of his great fights before he made it to the UFC was awesome.”

Be sure to keep up to date with the Cage Warriors 70 fight card at

Follow Dean on twitter @WolverDean_DNFT

Dean would like to thank “The Griphouse Gym, if I had never gone there then god knows where I would be now. All of the coaches and training partners at the gym. Those who have helped, inspired and encouraged me to live the life I want to live. My sponsors John Jackson of Brawbeard Oils ( and Kad Ahmed of Musclebound in Paisley. David Mullins. My girlfriend Frankie and my Mum, for being awesome.”

“I’m looking to be the best version of myself every day. Win a Cage Warriors belt. I just need to focus on myself. What I bring and what I do well! ”

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