The journey of Phillipe Nover into the big leagues started when he decided to make a living out of mixed martial arts back in 2003. The first promotion that gave him a break was Ring of Combat, a promotion based in New Jersey, USA. In a span of two years with the promotion, Nover strung a five-fight winning streak, with three of those wins coming by way of submission.
The brasses of the UFC then took notice of the then-21 year old Nover. Nover was invited to audition for a spot at the Ultimate Fighter house, coached by MMA Legends and former World Heavyweight Champions Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir. That season, however, was only for lightweights (155 lbs) and light heavyweights (205 lbs). Back then, Nover competed at welterweight (170 lbs). But with grit and determination to be able to compete in the UFC, the Filipino Assassin had to cut off the carbs in order to enter the house at lightweight. Nover breezed through the audition process and was invited to take part in the show thereafter.
In the first episode for the show, right in the first minute of the tapings, Phillipe Nover immediately fainted due to heat exhaustion, and probably due to the dehydration resulting from his weight cut. After the final elimination round, Nover was able to defeat Joe Duarte by submission to book a ticket to the show.
With majority of his wins coming by way of submission, it was only fitting that Phillipe Nover was drafted as the first pick of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu legend Antonio Noguiera. Nover did not disappoint. He finished off all three of his opponents by submission, two by rear naked choke and one by kimura, to advance to the tournament’s finale. “On the Ultimate Fighter, I pretty much dismantled all my opponents,” Nover recalled. “When I hit the scene, I got away with having strong hands and a little intimidation. That was what got me by but the technique wasn’t there. I pretty much did not have any wrestling experience back then.”
UFC President Dana White even called Phillipe “The Filipino Assassin” Nover as the Mini-GSP (Georges St. Pierre) back when he was still a contestant for the 8th Season of the Ultimate Fighter. He even proclaimed himself to be the toughest registered nurse on the planet. However, the hype train for the Filipino Assassin was derailed as soon as he stepped on the octagon.
Phillipe Nover tasted his first defeat ever, in the biggest fight of his career, at the Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale. He lost a close unanimous decision victory to Efrain Escudero. Moreover, a string of unfortunate events occurred for him as he lost a highly controversial match against Kyle Bradley during UFC 98. The referee stopped the fight due to a “TKO” even though Nover was defending himself. “Fainting” Nover again made an appearance, this time during the Ultimate Fight Night 19. During the event itself, Nover fainted and as a result, his scheduled match against Sam Stout was cancelled. Finally, in his fight against Rob Emerson at UFC 109, even with Nover being the more aggressive fighter, he lost the match by way of a unanimous decision. The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 runner-up was then released from the UFC a few weeks later.
Instead of being down or completely retiring from the sport, The Filipino Assassin continued to train hard in hopes of getting a second chance at the UFC. “For seven years, I’ve been working religiously on my wrestling and putting it all together.” Nover even competed in the amateur wrestling circuit together with his Renzo Gracie camp member Frankie Edgar.
His high efforts in training can clearly be seen as he compiled a a 5-2 record, with one of his losses coming from yet another controversial judging call. In his last three fights, Phillipe Nover went back to his roots and fought at Ring of Combat; eventually winning the promotion’s lightweight crown back in June 2013.
Now, the Filipino Assassin is back in the UFC and competing at home turf. “You’re gonna see a well-rounded Phillipe Nover, who’s gonna kick some ass. I’m gonna have a good win streak in the UFC. I’m confident and ready to go. Come fight night, I’m gonna conquer the Korean Bulldozer [Yui Chul Nam]. I’m gonna stop him!” the proud Filipino exclaimed.
Finally, this will be the first time Phillipe Nover will be competing in front of his countrymen. “I thought back in ’08 the UFC was coming here. I’m blessed and excited to be part of this event and it’s a dream come true to fight in front of the Filipino people.”When asked if this was an advantage to fight here in the Philippines, Nover told us: “Absolutely! I will be staying with my family in Quezon City even during the weeks leading to fight night. It will be an advantage for me physically and psychologically [against his opponent] to fight in the Philippines.”
Phillipe Nover is truly home. Now it’s time for the Filipino Assassin to stay in his real home, the UFC.
Phillipe “the Filipino Assassin” Nover (10-5-1) will face “the Korean Bulldozer” Yui Chul Nam (18-4-1) on UFC Fight Night 66: Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena, May 26, 2015.