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McGregor's team-mate Holohan confident he can be Ireland's next UFC champion

“I’ve been working my ass off to bring a UFC belt back to Tallaght.”

Irish UFC flyweight Paddy Holohan.
Irish UFC flyweight Paddy Holohan.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

PADDY HOLOHAN WILL aim to resume his journey to the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s flyweight division tomorrow.

Holohan will take on English veteran Vaughan Lee on the prelims at UFC Fight Night 72 at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.

Aiming for his third victory in the octagon since joining the UFC twelve months ago, the Tallaght native knows that a win is likely to secure him a clash with a ranked opponent in his hometown of Dublin in October.

His long-term aspiration, however, is a shot at dominant 125lbs champion Demetrious Johnson. Holohan is still a few wins away from being in title contention, but he’s desperate to follow in the footsteps of his Straight Blast Gym team-mate Conor McGregor by getting his hands on a UFC belt.

“That’s more vivid now than it’s ever been because I’m almost four fights in,” said Holohan, who — along with head coach John Kavanagh — is planning to open an SBG facility in Tallaght later this year.

“I’ve been working my ass off to get to this position and bring a UFC belt back to Tallaght — back to Jobstown. It would be a dream come true. I know I can do it too. I’m 100% confident in my ability to achieve that.”

Holohan has enormous respect for Demetrious Johnson, the only flyweight champion in UFC history. He might even be the best fighter on the planet, but the Irish star doesn’t fear the prospect of a meeting with ‘Mighty Mouse’ somewhere down the line.

Patrick Holohan gets the better of Josh Sampo Paddy Holohan on his way to a debut UFC win over Josh Sampo in July 2014.

He said: “I look at Demetrious Johnson and I learn an awful lot of stuff from him. To me, he’s probably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Technically, I look at all the tiny little things he does that make him the best. However, if you can see them, you can remove them. So I’ll know what I’m dealing with.

“I look at some of the people who have fought him and they don’t seem to have identified those little things because they haven’t dealt with them well when they’ve happened. I know I have the tools to counter what he can do. But you’ve got to be yourself in there too and not just dance to his tune. I believe I’m capable of doing that.”

Tomorrow’s meeting with Vaughan Lee offers Holohan the opportunity to take his UFC ledger to 3-1, which is a particularly strong record in the flyweight division. Lee is no easy opponent but Holohan is convinced he can control the fight in all ranges.

“I honestly believe I’ll be better than him in every exchange; grappling without a doubt, but also in the stand-up. People will be surprised, believe me.”

Paddy Holohan fights Vaughan Lee tomorrow (Saturday, 18 July) on the prelims at UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow. The bout will begin at approximately 5.30pm on UFCFightPass.com.

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Paul Dollery

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