Kavanagh believes his absence will have little effect on Paddy Holohan


The fact that three SBG fighters will be competing on the same day across two different countries next weekend says a lot about how far the Irish team have come since their initial UFC test via Tom Egan in 2009.

John Kavanagh’s success on the world’s biggest stage seemed inevitable due to his domination of the Irish scene before his clan went on to claim numerous world titles through Europe’s most prestigious promotion, Cage Warriors.

Next weekend Kavanagh will travel to Sweden to corner Gunnar Nelson as he headlines his first UFC card as well as Cathal Pendred who will make his much anticipated return to the welterweight division on the night.

Paddy Holohan, who will be in action a number of hours after the Stockholm event has finished when he takes to the Octagon in Nova Scotia, will have to be without the services of his inspirational coach for his bout with Louis Gaudinot. Speaking on the issue, Kavanagh explained that his cornering commitments come on a first come, first served basis.

“It was nothing to do with names, it was just who I had committed to first,” he explained. “I realise that there’s certain things coming up that I’ve already made my decision on how I will approach it. It’s happened before where events have been taking place in different countries, just not with UFC. I’ve always gone with my first commitment. That seems to be the fair way to do it, so I’ll continue to do it that way.”

Kavanagh claimed that he is very confident that Holohan’s corner for October 3, Aisling Daly and Artem Lobov, will be perfect for the Dubliner on the night.

“Think about them two names, Artem Lobov and Aisling Daly. They’re not bad are they? Between both of them they have almost 40 professional fights, over fifteen years of martial arts experience and I think that makes them qualified for the job.

“On top of being a professional fighter Ais is a cut woman and she’s been in her team mates’ corners throughout their careers. I’m always getting at her to be a ring girl just once, because then she’ll have done everything, but she’s not having any of that. There’s not many people with more MMA experience on our island than Aisling Daly.

“Then there’s Artem. For all these years he has been Conor’s main sparring and warming up partner. To have the two of them there is more than enough, I would just be getting in the way,” said Kavanagh.


Many would argue that the very presence of Kavanagh at one of his fighter’s bouts would spur them on to some extent, but the SBG head coach maintains that Paddy Holohan is one of the most self-motivated people under his tutelage.

He said: “Paddy spurs himself on at all times. He’s doing this for himself and for his son. He is leading this lifestyle to make sure his son is provided for and that’s number one for him – make no bones about that as far as his professional fighting career is concerned.

“As for his development, Paddy will always seek me out in the gym and more often than not it’s about a particular sweep or submission that he has dreamt about. Then he shows it me and it’s usually something very cool. I see that as a separate thing to prize fighting on a Saturday night though, it’s just his motivation.”


Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.