Obsession makes perfect – Paddy Holohan ahead of his second UFC outing

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Competing for the first time in nearly two years at UFC Dublin on July 19, one of the most notable improvements to Paddy ‘The Hooligan’ Holohan’s all round game was undoubtedly in the striking department.

The Dubliner, a celebrated submission specialist, highlighted that his obsession with the sport has allowed him to elevate the stand-up element of his game in the same fashion that he took to ‘the gentle art’.

“I wouldn’t say its on level par with my jiu jitsu,” said the charismatic flyweight when considering his striking. “My jiu jitsu is very good. I think it transfers from that though. Knowing that I could get good at one aspect of the game allowed my to get better standing up.

“My striking is shit hot now too. I’m delighted the way it’s going but I’ll never be happy, I’m a perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect. I actually took a shot there in my last fight. I’m always looking to improve, I don’t beat myself up over these things but I just can’t get this sport out of my head.

“It’s like a plague or something. All I think about is the fight game. Shots coming at me, how I’m going to react and all of that stuff.

“Getting my disc fixed has helped with my movement in the standup department to no end too. I had been avoiding moving to my left because that’s when I could feel the injury, but that’s all fixed now.”

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Gearing up to face established American Louis Gaudinot in Nova Scotia, Canada, Holohan is excited to return to the country that he spent a short time living in for his sophomore UFC outing.

He said: “It’s like I’m coming home all over again after the Dublin card. It’s a different country but it’s the same Octagon. I love the Canadian people and Nova Scotia supposedly has a big Scottish community, so I’m looking forward to the experience.

“I’m only a kid from a council estate and I’m getting to see all of these places. There’s people where I come from that never get to see anywhere, so this is a big privilege for me.”

Being matched with Gaudinot in his second UFC outing says a lot about the impression ‘The Hooligan’ made with his first round submission win over Josh Sampo. Although the American’s last win over Phil Harris was rescinded, Gaudinot is a fighter many believed had the skillset to climb to the heights of the UFC’s 125 lbs division when he graduated from The Ultimate Fighter to the UFC’s roster.

“I don’t get excited about names,” said the Jobstown talent. “I get excited about tea and food. I’m not going to dwell on how well people know this guy. The bottom line is I’m going to try and take this guy out he’s going to try to take me out.

“I’ve seen a bit of him before. I’ve seen his fight with Paul McVeigh, but I don’t waste too much tome watching tape. I just think about Paddy Holohan, I just do me.”

With John Kavanagh already booked for cornering duty on October 4 by Gunnar Nelson and Cathal Pendred who will be in action in Sweden, it will be business as usual for Holohan as he will be rejoined by close friend and training partner Ais Daly who was busy recording TUF 20 when Holohan made his debut.

Holohan also revealed that he will be joined by fan favourite Artem Lobov, on the second part of the Russian’s “world tour”, who will go straight from cornering Conor McGregor in Las Vegas to Canada where he will help out the SBG flyweight.

“Aisling Daly will be in my corner, it’s back to normal for this one. I’ll have another team member in John’s place. I’m big enough and bold enough to get this done without John, and if we can get it done this time we know that we’ll be able to do it again in the future.

“Artem is going to fly in after Conor’s fight in Vegas so he has a bit of a world tour going on. He’s going to be like Beyonce or something,” he laughed.

Holohan commented further on what impact the return of Daly will have on his preparation:

“It’s amazing to have her back, it’s a huge boost. She’s in New York now but she’ll be back before the other guys head off to Vegas so she will be helping me a lot in preparation for this fight. She’s a perfectionist so everything will be perfect for me on October 4.”

The possibility of fighting for the UFC’s flyweight belt is something that the Irishman doesn’t dwell on too much, but when asked if it’s something that excites him, Holohan answered affirmatively in his always interesting, individual manner.

“Yeah, I suppose that excites me,” he said after a pause. “Fighting for a title would be great but the only thing that changes in championship fights is that you get handed a belt at the end of the fight. I think about winning fights, the rest just comes.

“Before the fight you can’t think about that stuff because you’re using up percentages of your mind that could be used to focus on other things.”

Never a man comfortable with predicting the outcome of his fights, Holohan insisted that what he does himself is a complete mystery when he is in the Octagon, which makes it very difficult for him to forecast the outcome of the matchup.

“I don’t really have a prediction. It’s hard to predict what can happen in this sport. Especially with me, sometimes I don’t even know what I’m throwing at these guys.

“If someone ever says ‘I know exactly what this guy is going to do’ when they’re going to fight me – they don’t. I don’t even know what I’m doing. I’m working off instinct, I do what feels right.

“There’s takedowns, all types of strikes and submission locks and when you’ve been doing this as long as I have everything just flows, there’s no real thought.”

@PetesyCarroll

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.