Paddy Holohan: “I’m exactly like all of the people that will be in the crowd”

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Paddy Holohan and Louis Smolka will contest their much anticipated flyweight clash next Saturday in Dublin, a bout in which the eventual winner should enter the UFC’s flyweight rankings.

The charismatic Dubliner is never short of confidence and having clocked up a 3-1 record in under a year with the world’s flagship promotion he has every right to be. Considering his Hawaiian opponent for the Dublin date, Holohan is adamant that he is not taking him for granted despite his belief that he will be comfortable in “all areas” on the night.

“He is in a very similar position to me and I’m not taking this guy for granted,” said Holohan. “I don’t take anyone for granted. This is MMA, sometimes when you grab a beginner on the mat, a guy that doesn’t know anything, even they can be awkward. I’m not trying to say Louis is a beginner or anything like that, but you have to have an open mind, you can’t go in thinking this guy has nothing for you.

“I do believe I’m better fighter than him, and I think you have to think like that. I think I can attack from a lot of different ranges. We’ll go in there and we’ll see if he will break or whether it will be back and forth. I’m confident in all areas, I go against world-class people everyday and I’m happy in my ability. That’s all I can do. I’ve looked after that end of it and on October 24 I’ll get to go out and fight in front of my country.”

‘The Hooligan’ spoke of how grateful he is for the support that he will receive ahead of the bout. Having been given one of the biggest ovations of the night last year for his UFC debut, Holohan highlighted how he relates to his Irish fan base.

“I’m very grateful for the position that I’m in, because I’m exactly like the people that will be in the crowd, I’m like all of them people cheering me on. If it wasn’t me in there performing, I would be on the outside supporting the Irish fighters. When I think of what I represent, I think about the working class people. I go to my job everyday, but it just so happens that I work for the UFC. I feel like Neil (Seery) represents that same thing and I’m fan of that.

“There’s a lot of guys like that, like the Diaz brothers and Conor too, we all came up from nothing so I’m grateful to perform in front of all those people who paid for tickets. That’s not easy you know, they probably stayed up and waited for the tickets to go on sale and stuff like that, I just have to show up. I appreciate them things, I’m very grateful. When you’re grateful, good things will come to you.”

Although he has travelled to watch his father compete in Boston and Glasgow, Holohan’s son, Tiernan, will get to see first hand how much Holohan means to the Irish fans for the first time next Saturday night. The SBG flyweight believes that it will be quite an emotional and exciting time for his son given how much more he has invested in the fight than the vast majority of the crowd that will be in the 3 Arena.

“I didn’t have him at the first Dublin show and to be honest, that was because I still didn’t really know what was going on back then myself. It’s like the old Viking thing again, the father goes ahead and then his family follows.

“It will be an emotional moment for him. He is aware of what’s going on and everyone in that arena will be baying for blood. Of course he’s going to be cheering me on, but he knows that this is serious business. There are real consequences to what happens in there for him. The other people in the crowd, they don’t really lose if something goes wrong for me. He does, I’m his Da. I know he’s going to be excited, but I’m sure it will be very emotional for him as well. He was emotional in Boston and Glasgow too, he understands the game a lot.

“He wants to be a scientist when he grows up so he won’t be going down this road. That’s the kind of message I’m trying to get across to everyone, it doesn’t matter where you come from, you don’t have to be born into money. Sure, it might give you a bit of a boost in some cases, but I just want to show him that he can do anything if he sets his mind to and that there are no excuses or limits to what he can or can’t do. I hope it might give him a boost to see what I’ve done later on in his life.

“He knows that I do have to make sacrifices and that can be frustrating for him sometimes. I had to miss something last week and he wasn’t too happy about it but when I saw him after he said, ‘I understand and I’m sorry.’ He’s a very mature young lad, he knows the fight game is what keeps the Air Max on his feet!”

@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.