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His undefeated record may be gone but Paddy Holohan is ready for a run at the UFC title

The colourful flyweight locks horns with Shane Howell at UFC Boston on Sunday night.

Holohan (right) speaking to Dan Hardy after his victorious UFC debut in Dublin last year.
Holohan (right) speaking to Dan Hardy after his victorious UFC debut in Dublin last year.
Image: Rodrigo Romos/INPHO

THIS WEEKEND IN Boston, Paddy Holohan will be competing with the aim of returning to winning ways for the first time in his career.

Holohan had his first taste of defeat last October when he finished on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Chris Kelades in Canada.

But according to Holohan’s coach John Kavanagh, the loss may prove to be a blessing in disguise, with the 26-year-old Dubliner no longer carrying the burden of pressure that comes with maintaining an unblemished ledger.

“I never really thought about the unbeaten record going in to fights before, but maybe it was a negative thing that was clinging on to me without me even knowing,” Holohan told The42.ie ahead of Sunday night’s bout against Shane Howell at UFC Boston.

“Maybe it was weighing me down a bit. I’m feeling great heading into this. I’ve worked hard and I’m ready for everything he has to throw at me. I want this one. I want it so bad.

“I’m always itching to get back in there. The last one was a loss, but I got a good fifteen minutes in the UFC octagon which is always a good experience. Every minute in there is beneficial, and that’s how I’m looking at it.”

With the exception of his SBG colleague Conor McGregor, Holohan arguably has the potential to make more progress in his respective division in 2015 than any other Irish fighter.

Things didn’t go according to plan last time out, but Holohan’s 10-1-1 record remains impressive, with nine of his professional victories coming inside the distance — eight of those via submission.

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The Tallaght native is the bookies’ favourite for Sunday night’s meeting with Howell. The majority of his opponent’s defeats have been submissions, but Holohan isn’t making any specific predictions.

“There are lots of endings in your head when you’re visualising it, but when I’m switched on I’m a very hard man to beat. I nearly have to be held back a little bit and that’s how I feel at the moment. I need to get this feeling out of me now.”

Occupying one of the UFC’s smaller divisions — no pun intended — a win this weekend would put Paddy Holohan well on track for a run at the upper echelons of the flyweight rankings before the end of 2015.

Holohan added: “I’ll definitely be up in the top ten, maybe even competing for the title next year.”

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Paul Dollery

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