Top 5 Irish UFC Debuts

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After an amazing 2014 for Irish MMA, 2015 looks like it could be even better with messrs Daly, Pendred, Redmond, Parke, Seery, Holohan and McGregor all due back in UFC action over the next few months.

Next up, though, is the latest UFC recruit – Joseph Duffy. The Donegal man makes his debut this Saturday in Dallas against Jake Lindsey at UFC 185 and it looks primed to be a tremendous match up to kick off his UFC career. So what better time to look back at the other great Irish UFC debuts. Here are the top 5.

5 – Aisling Daly vs. Alex Chambers

After a couple of pretty impressive performances, despite some mental and physical struggles, on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ TV series, WMMA veteran Aisling Daly entered her debut fight with Alex Chambers as the betting favourite. But when she missed weight on the Friday before the fight and admitted to some difficulties in preparing after her time in the TUF house, the bout took a whole different dimension. To her credit, Daly was able to put all that to the side and put on a masterful display of grappling to get the submission win in the opening round.

4 – Norman Parke vs. Colin Fletcher

With the whirlwind of attention surrounding Conor McGregor, it’s often forgotten that Norman Parke debuted in the UFC before the Dubliner as he took part in the Finale of the thoroughly enjoyable TUF: Smashes series. Parke took on unique English veteran Colin Fletcher in that finale and got the win with a phenomenal wrestling offence which set up some nasty ground and pound.

3 – Paddy Holohan vs. Josh Sampo

UFC Dublin was always going to be a special night but Paddy Holohan’s Octagon debut against Josh Sampo set the tone for the whole night. The Jobstown man had the difficult task of opening the whole card but took it all in his stride as he unleashed a series of kick boxing attacks before taking it to the ground and choking out his American opponent.

2 – Conor McGregor vs. Marcus Brimage

By now, the whole country of Ireland is familiar with Conor McGregor and a lot of that is thanks to his UFC debut against Marcus Brimage. McGregor entered the bout with a massive amount of hype and needed to back it up. He did just that. Brimage looked mad at the Friday weigh in and fought the same way – playing onto the hands of the Dubliner who knocked him into oblivion with uppercut after uppercut.

1 – Cathal Pendred vs. Mike King

Part of what made UFC Dublin so special was every Irishman winning – but that nearly wasn’t the case as (the PED induced) Mike King had Dubliner Cathal Pendred badly hurt multiple times in the first round of his UFC debut. Amazingly, Pendred survived the round and got back to his corner to regroup. In the second round, King looked absolutely shot and Pendred produced one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history to take his TUF housemate down and choke him to sleep.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma