TUF: The Smashes winner and UFC veteran ‘Stormin’ Norman Parke (25-6-1-1) put pen to paper earlier this week to seal a return to KSW. Parke had recently been granted a release from Bellator. Speculation had mounted on the Bushmill’s man future, with a possible BKB fight and move to rival Polish promotion F.E.N muted. KSW put these rumours to bed, announcing Norman would return on a multi-fight deal starting with a fight at Welterweight against KSW legend Borys Mankowski in the Atlas arena, Lodz on March 23rd. Parke spoke with WHOATV to explain how it all came about and plans for his KSW return.
You’re back with KSW, this time fighting at 170lbs against Borys Mankowski, how did it all happen?
My connect to KSW got in contact with me when he had heard Dricus Du Plessis would not be fighting Borys at KSW 47. He had asked me what weight I would like to fight at, ideally I said at lightweight or a catchweight of 165lbs. He asked if I would consider going up to 170lbs to fight Borys. I spoke with the KSW matchmaker, KSW came with a deal, we didn’t agree at that point. I told them what I needed financially to go up to 170lbs and take that fight. They agreed to a deal that was beneficial for us both. They seemed to think I was scared to fight Borys, but it was about getting the right money to justify the risk. I got what I was looking for and everybody was happy.
So how do you feel about this fight with Borys? We know you guys had issues before around the Gamrot fights
I don’t have a problem with Borys, I think he’s an alright guy, a better guy than Gamrot anyway. I’ll fight him no problem, he’s experienced but I’ve fought all over the world and taken fights against anyone. Borys hasn’t fought in a long time either, he’s been out for a bit now. His last fight was pretty tough on him, I thought it would be a great chance for me to jump in here. I’m not cutting weight for it really. I weight 183 lbs right now, I can eat what I want and I feel really strong at this weight. Cardio will be much better too because I won’t be taxing my body cutting 16 or 17 lbs of water at the end. It’ll be a minimal amount of water weight. I’m coming for Borys, this is gonna be a fight!
Do you see yourself hanging around at 170 lbs if it feels right?
I’m going to see how I feel after the fight. I’m contracted to fight Borys at 170lbs but after that I’m contracted to get back to 155lbs. There are a couple more fights on the contract. Fight again at lightweight then potentially settle the score with a Gamrot trilogy fight, the ‘so called’ champion for the belt. Borys isn’t a huge Welterweight like Roberto Soldic or Dricus Du Plessis. He’s solid but he’d probably be like myself, more comfortable at 165 lbs. It would be ideal if that division opened up in KSW. I think Brave have the right idea introducing that.
You want that Gamrot trilogy fight though eventually, don’t you?
Listen man, I’ll fight him no bother. There’s another page to be written in that story for sure. I’m concentrating on Borys now though. Borys has everything to lose and I’ve nothing to lose. It doesn’t hurt me to take a loss a weight up and do them a favour. Last time Borys got badly beaten, there’s pressure on him with 2 back to back losses. I don’t care, I’m dangerous man. I’ve travelled more than any of them. I’ve fought Gamrot and how many others in their backyard before? I don’t think Borys will be stronger than the likes of Tibeau that I fought before. He walked into the cage at 82kg having weighed in at 70kg the day before. He had 5kg on me, I was 77kg in the cage! Borys will be aggressive, I’m not under-estimating him but he’s shorter than me and carries around a lot of muscle mass. I’m a grinder. I’ll work him and tire him. We’ll see if he can hack the pace. They want to build their boy back up, I’m there to spoil the party.
The Bellator deal didn’t work out, you had your eye on going to America to fight, what happened there?
Basically the visa was denied. They wanted me to fight in America and the visa was denied. There wasn’t an opportunity to get on a European show and I needed a fight. We parted on good terms and that was that basically.
Are you looking forward to getting back over to Poland in front of the Polish fans again for KSW?
Yeah man, we’ve had some amazing times out there already. The Polish fans are great, I’ve a good following over there. KSW 39 was something else, they know how to really put on a show.
What about KSW signing Ishii? Your big mate Phil De Fries and him have unfinished business!
Phil is a cracking guy, I get on well with him. We trained together in the states at Alliance MMA. Martin was smart to bring in Ishii, if he gets through a fight or two that one is set up well. I’m looking forward to seeing Phil fight Narkun, that should be a great fight too.