Three years ago UFC President Dana White labeled Phillipe Nover as being comparable to Anderson Silva based on what he’d seen during taping of the Ultimate Fighter Season 8. A trio of consecutive losses later, as well as a frightening episode featuring a backstage seizure, Nover found himself in the midst of free agency as well as dealing with some personal struggles.
After taking a year to get his life straight Nover is ready to return to the ring on a full-time basis and will do so tomorrow night on MTV2/EPIX as part of the lineup for Bellator 59. The native New Yorker spoke some about how he’s evolved since fans last saw him in action, making it clear the athlete they see facing Marcin Held is far superior to the one first catching the world’s attention in 2008.
“I definitely had some distractions before in my life,” Nover explained to MMAMania before referencing a bad relationship he was in, as well as some stagnation on the training front fixed by a change to Renzo Gracie’s academy and a serious neck injury.
“My training partners and sparring partners range now from Frankie Edgar all the way to Charlie Brenneman,” said Nover after mentioning his loyalty to his original group kept him from polishing his skills alongside high-level partners. “I’m now including John Danaher in my corner. Just changing up completely with my training strategy-wise for my fighting. I think before, I had an approach which was definitely lacking in my fight career and now it’s a lot better. I look at fighting now completely different from how I ever looked at it.”
“I don’t know for sure when the injury came first but I know I had a herniated disk and it was really bad,” the 27-year old revealed of another situation prohibiting his career. “I definitely fought with the herniated disk a few times, that was during the UFC and it just kept getting worse and worse.”
Nover had his surgery a year ago, opting to compete successfully in a Muay Thai match-up in this summer before testing the MMA waters a few months later with a decision win in August. The winning trend is one he hopes to continue on Saturday in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“It’s a stacked division, I think even comparable to the UFC, so if I ever want to get back to the UFC I have to have hopes of making it pretty far in Bellator. This is a great opportunity for me to get back into the scene and I’m hoping to do well.”
Action starts at 9:00 PM EST with other bouts on the card including Kurt Pellegrino vs. Patricky Freire and a pair of Season 5 finals between bantamweights Alexis Vila/Eduardo Santos and heavyweights Eric Prindle/Thiago Santos.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC