Ais Daly anticipating an “unforgettable experience” at UFC Dublin

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After being confirmed for UFC’s Dublin return on October 24 yesterday, Aisling Daly claimed she looking forward to hearing “the roar of the Irish crowd” for the first time as a UFC fighter.

Having been in the TUF house for last year’s historic event in the 3 Arena, Daly has been using visualization techniques to prepare herself for the rapturous ovation she is sure to receive as a pioneer of the sport when she makes her way to the Octagon to face Brazil’s Ericka Almeida.

“The roar of the Irish crowd is something that I’m really looking forward to,” exclaimed Daly hours after her fight had been announced. “It’s something that I visualize, especially after seeing what the crowd was like the last time. I just try and put myself in my teammates’ shoes as they were coming out, even now it’s making the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

“It really is like the whole country is behind you. There are very few sports in this country that can create that kind of atmosphere. It’s all on you when you go out there, just one person. When you consider the support our teams get, the people are still cheering for a collective, for Ireland.

“In MMA, it’s just you, your opponent and the ref – that’s all that’s in there. Everybody in that arena will be screaming for you. I know that everybody in the country will want to know what’s happening in the 3 Arena that night, even if they aren’t there they will be logging on to Facebook to get the results and stuff.”

Given the support that will get behind ‘Ais the Bash’ on the night, the SBG strawweight has claimed that she has a new “determination and motivation” going into the contest. The former world champion spoke about how privileged she feels to be one of the few people that will ever experience the reception that will greet her on October 24.

“To have that kind of support is just amazing. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. I literally don’t care who they put in there in front of me. People can call it confidence, they can call it whatever they want, but I just wanted to be on that card performing in front of my country so badly.

“This is my moment. Whatever Ericka Almeida shows up to do, that’s her business. It’s all about me this time, the determination and motivation I have for this fight is like nothing I’ve felt before. I’m inspired and excited to have this privilege.

“Not many people get to do what I do every day. There are hardly any people that will get to experience the things that the Irish fighters do when they make their way to fight in the Octagon in Dublin. There are the guys who fought in Dublin before, the people who will fight this time and then the others that will come in the future – but it’s still a tiny percentage of the world.

“Irish UFC fighters, fighting at home in front of that manic crowd – it’s gonna be an absolutely unforgettable experience.”

As for her opponent on the night, despite Daly getting reports of Almeida’s standout jiu-jitsu game, the Irish fighter seems to be confident in every aspect of the game. While Daly claimed that she previously didn’t “show up for fights mentally”, the Dubliner cited that her preparation for the event has been flawless thus far.

“Being very honest I haven’t seen her UFC debut, I’ve just heard a few peoples’ takes on her style. Everybody that I ask seems to think she is a very good grappler, but she doesn’t seem to have great wrestling and her striking doesn’t really seem up to scratch.

“I know she’ll be looking for the takedown and trying to use her jiu-jitsu to dominate. I’m super confident everywhere, I know I’m one of the best grapplers in that division. On top of that I’ve got great striking and wrestling. It’s going to be a tough fight for her no matter where it goes.

“Some people might bring up the fact that she is a BJJ black belt, but I’m no slouch on the ground either. SBG don’t give out belts for nothing, I’m a brown belt, but that was after spending seven years as a purple belt, so it’s not like I haven’t got the experience.

“I’ve fought black belts before and I’ve handled myself very well and that’s even before you throw in striking and the different aspects of the sport. I know that she’s going to be dangerous, this girl is in the UFC so we know she’s not a can. Everybody has their strengths and things that they want to work towards, but at the same time I’m really confident in my skills.

“I know sometimes I don’t show up for fights mentally and my skills can look less crisp than they do in the gym. But, I’m in a fantastic place mentally. We’re nine weeks out now, when I heard about the fight it was 16 weeks out and I’ve been really motivated ever since I heard. I’m excited and I’m loving every minute of training. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter.

“I’ve honestly never been happier, I’ve changed a few things around in training and I feel great. Even with the weight, I weigh the same now as I do when I’m usually three weeks out from a fight. I feel great.”

@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.