Las Vegas, NV — Welterweight Phil Rowe has now won two straight inside the octagon, but following his latest win at UFC Vegas 47, it’s a battle outside the cage he’s focused on.
Rowe (9-3) dispatched Jason Witt in stunning fashion Saturday. But his next fight will be cancer, with his mother battling two forms of the disease simultaneously — multiple myeloma, and breast cancer.
“I’ve got a really big, really tough fight ahead of me. Tougher than anybody in the UFC. My mom has cancer,” Rowe said when asked about who he wants to face next, backstage at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Rowe’s mother, he added, is battling two kinds of cancer, and the welterweight gave a shout out to opponent Witt for agreeing to their fight being moved so she could attend chemo.
As for getting back to work, “right now my focus is on her. Hopefully I’ll get back in here summertime, but I need to be there for my mom. I don’t really care what happens in the fight game, I need to worry about my mom.” Rowe is also hopeful that a potential Performance of the Night bonus can help cover some extra treatment.
When it comes to his fighting career, Rowe is proving to be a well-rounded athlete. He’s been competing in grappling between fights, and believes that is paying off.
“Of course, of course. These guys in the UFC, they don’t understand, I can grapple for real. Jacare Souza and Rodolfo Vieira have been my training partners for years. I’ve been cornering Jacare since I was 2-2, he lives in my neighborhood, he’s one of my closest friends,” said Rowe. “I just grappled Gordon Ryan, I just grappled Kody Steele, Jon Piersma. I’m not grappling fighters, I’m grappling the creme de la creme. They can watch those matches and think whatever they want to think, but my grappling is on par with anybody at welterweight. And these guys know me.”
It was his striking that got the job done at UFC Vegas 47, however. A slick combo punctuated with a right hand put Witt away.
“I feel like I have the most unique style in the entire UFC when it comes to my striking, and that may sound cliche, but nobody throws that right hand like me,” said Rowe. “Literally nobody. And that’s from my boxing coach Kelly Davis, we got a style that’s a little different. If you watch any of my fights, if my right hand lands, that’s it.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 47 post-fight press scrum with Phil Rowe above. More coverage from the event can be found below.