Exclusive: Paddy Holohan signs with the UFC; fights Sampo at UFC in Dublin
Undefeated Dubliner Paddy “The Hooligan” Holohan will take on Josh Sampo in a flyweight bout on July 19th in Dublin’s 02 Arena at UFC Fight Night 46 in the first of four fights on his contract.
The talented submission specialist, who has not been in action since suffering a back injury in the elimination round of The Ultimate Fighter 18, shared his thoughts on making his UFC debut in front of his hometown crowd.
“I’m just so happy,” said Holohan. “The Irish know how special this night is going to be, it’s going to be like World Cup 1994 all over again, they’ll paint the paths in my estate green, white and orange.
“This is a big moment for me, it’s a big moment for my whole family and my son especially. I can’t wait to get in there and do what I love to do.
“I’m 26 and I feel like I’ve got the world at my feet. Not a lot of people from my area get a chance to do things like this with their lives and I’m just so happy I took the road that I did.
“Just this morning I was driving around my estate and I saw some guy on the way home from partying the night before and another guy messing around with a horse. That could’ve been me. Thanks to my SBG family, I’ve found the ingredients to do what I love for a living.”
Out of action for over a year after undergoing a discectomy, “The Hooligan” commented on his fitness levels and his recovery.
“I’m 100%, the physio in SBG says I’m stronger than ever, I’ve been blowing the tests away every time. I look at the back injury like a blessing in disguise because it made me become a lot tougher mentally, it was a big lesson and I appreciate it.
“Sitting on the sidelines and not being able to train made me want it even more, I just want to fight now. It’s crazy to think that I started out in SBG doing their foundation course, just two days a week, and now look at where I am.
“The only fights I had before that were scraps on the street, they’ve completely changed my life ,” he said.
Josh Sampo, who made his UFC debut at the TUF 18 finale in November, is another a submission specialist with something to prove in Dublin. Coming off a loss to Zach Makovsky at UFC 170, Sampo will be itching to get back into the win column, but Holohan has other plans for the American.
“I haven’t seen him fight before as far as I know, I don’t even know what he looks like. None of that matters though, it’s always the same at this level, he must be a tough guy if he’s fighting in the UFC. This is going to be a big test for me but it doesn’t matter who they put in front of me, I’ll be ready for him,” he said.
As for a method of victory, the established grappler revealed that the Dublin crowd might see something new from him on July 19th.
“I’ve been messing around with this thing called ‘paranoia guard’, Aisling Daly named it. Attacks come from everywhere with it, not just the usual armbars and triangles, so you might see a bit of that,” he finished.
Check out our 21 minute documentary on Paddy Holohan’s last fight against Artemij Sitenkov