Paddy Holohan: Fear forced Gaudinot to pull out


Paddy Holohan proved himself as force to be reckoned with at UFC Dublin with his first round submission win over Josh Sampo despite being out of action for nearly two years before his promotional debut.

Now heading into a bout in Nova Scotia against hometown boy Chris Kelades after his original opponent Louis Gaudinot pulled out, ‘The Hooligan’ has to deal with the demands of travelling on top of the expectation of Saturday night’s bout.

“I feel great, the travel hasn’t done anything to me,” he said. “It feels like I’ve just popped around the corner for some milk. My body clock is on time and all, so everything is going great. I’m 61 kilos at the moment and I had four chicken fillets yesterday. I can’t complain.”

Although Holohan seemed content with how his body reacted to the journey, he was less complimentary when it came to discussing Louis Gaudinot. A big name, had the SBG man taken a victory over the American he would’ve been propelled up the flyweight ladder and he is adamant his original opponent pulled out because of fear.

“I knew he’d pull out, I knew he would,” he said switching from his usual happy demeanor. “I just did, I always profile the people I’m about to fight. I just have to look at them a few times to know what kind of person they are.

“A fighter has to go to bed and think about these things – their opponents and the fight itself. How was he dealing with them demons at night? I know how he was dealing with them – he was saying ‘these Irish are all mouth’, and then BANG.

“I saw he had a tweet – ‘he walks the walk and he talks the talk, superb knockout’ – that was about Conor, my teammate, and that was the night before he pulled out.

“It’s a fear thing, of course it’s a fear thing. It was something to do with him not being able to make weight or something, there’s no excuse for it. I didn’t get an apology, a tweet even, off him.

“I’m after going to serious lengths to make this weight, I’ve taken time away from my son. I take that stuff personally. Fair enough if he hurt himself, but he didn’t. I’m making weight, I’m taking time away from my family – my work is done.

“I have travelled half way across the world to challenge him on his continent. He pulls out with six days to go and I’ve still not heard a valid excuse. It was undisclosed.

“Look, I’m out here, I’m happy. Some guy is after taking the fight and I know if the guy was clever he saw this matchup and he has been getting ready all this time. That’s what I’d be doing.”

As for Kelades, Holohan feels like he knows what the local man is going through ahead of the bout having just come off a victory in front of his frenzied hometown crowd in Dublin.

“I’ve just stepped out of that boat. I know what it’s like. I know what his feelings are like, he’s had less time to think about this. I’ve been in my hometown, I’ve literally just came out of that situation.

“I fought in front of my family and friends and I had the same opportunity to change my life as he will have on Saturday night. I had a long time to prepare for it though. I had nine months of physical and mental preparation.

“I don’t think this guy is even a flyweight. He’s fought at 130lbs. I’ve been looking around to see what I can get from him and I’ve got a video or two of him. I only need to know 30 or 40 seconds of someone to understand how they move.

“I don’t give a shit about being on enemy territory. You could put them in there one at a time, I don’t care. I’m going out there tomorrow and I’ll land back in Dublin on Monday, I’m going to get an ice cream and I’m going to be 2-0 in UFC,” he laughed.

Holohan also commented on the improvements he has made since his last outing in the 02 Arena:

“When I go into the gym, I’ll roll and I’ll spar and I’ll find new things all the time. You’re going to get caught with a shot every now and again. When you do you just patch up that hole, you think of a counter or a defence. It’s constant improvement.

“You won’t improve if you’re just going into the gym and smash pads. This is a puzzle, you’ve got to figure it out. You have to connect your mind to the movements.”

Having a lot more media obligations as opposed to his fights before UFC, Holohan maintained that he is delighted with the added interest since signing with the flagship MMA promotion.

“Now that I’m in UFC it’s freed up a lot of time for me. I have a young son and I used to have to go out and do whatever I had to do to provide for him. Now, this is a whole new plan. Someone has given me an opportunity and I couldn’t be more grateful.

“I have to pinch myself sometimes. I knew I’d end up here, I really did. I’ve always said it. Sometimes I wake up and I say to myself ‘we’re here’ and I look at how other people look at it. I’ll only ever be Paddy Holohan though, that’s the only person I can be.

“People say money changes people but money can do great things as well. I can help a lot of my friends and put them on the right path. That’s how I feel about this, I can make a lot of people happy,” he said.

With Saturday’s test being one that he will have to take without his influential coach John Kavanagh in his corner, Holohan believes he has already dealt with the fact that he will not be there and it should not affect his performance at all.

He claimed: “It would be nice to have John in my corner as well as Ais and Artem, he can only give you an extra 10 or 20 per cent. A lot can be done through video and text these days though.

“Someone could create that as a problem in their mind and then it might affect them. I’ve already dealt with it in my mind. When I found out he couldn’t be here I took some time to think about, it took me about an hour, and at that stage I had already dealt with it.”

Finally Holohan forecasted what he believes will go down when he meets Chris Kelades on Saturday night.

“You’re going to see dynamic movement, you’re not gonna see one specific style – you’ll see a mixture, the new age. Anything can happen, I’m not writing anybody off and I’m not taking anyone lightly.

“I’m going to go out there and try to really, really hurt this guy. 2-0 in the UFC, we’re moving up. That’s my plan. I could do that no matter who was in there,” said the determined Tallaght man.



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.