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With no fights scheduled, what's next for the Irish in the UFC?

We take a look at what’s coming down the tracks for Ireland’s mixed martial arts elite.

A HUGE SUMMER for Irish mixed martial arts reached its conclusion last weekend at UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow.

Over the past three months, Irish fighters have been involved in nine Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts and the period yielded mixed results — five defeats, four victories and one UFC belt.

All eight of Ireland’s UFC representatives are waiting for official news of their next assignment, so we’ve gazed into our crystal ball to see if we could find some answers.

Aisling Daly

Aisling Daly Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

After losing a unanimous decision to Randa Markos in Canada in April, Aisling Daly (15-6 overall, 1-1 UFC) will be looking to return to winning ways when she next receives the UFC’s call — most likely for Dublin on 24 October.
Potential next opponent: Angela Hill. Like Daly, the 27-year-old American has a 1-1 UFC record and her Muay Thai style could make for an exciting contest. The pair were also on opposing sides during season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter.

Paddy Holohan

Patrick Holohan Source: Rodrigo Romos/INPHO

The Straight Blast Gym flyweight took his professional record to 12-1-1 (2-1 UFC) on Saturday courtesy of a pretty dominant unanimous-decision triumph against Vaughan Lee in Glasgow. That made it two wins on the trot for Holohan since he dropped his first career loss against Chris Kelades last October. A third consecutive victorty could see the 27-year-old Dubliner nudge his way into the rankings (top 15).
Potential next opponent: Louis Smolka. Holohan called out Smolka during his post-fight interview last weekend and the Hawaiian quickly took to Twitter to accept the challenge. It looks like a strong contender for 24 October when the UFC returns to Dublin.

Neil Seery

CW55 Source: Dolly Clew

Speaking of Louis Smolka, he scored a unanimous-decision win against Seery at UFC 189 in Las Vegas 10 days ago. Seery performed well, however, and came close on a couple of occasions to finishing a fighter who looks like he may have a bright future towards the upper echelons of the 125lbs division. Seery, whose UFC record now stands at 2-2 (15-11 overall) will also be hoping for a return to the octagon in his hometown of Dublin on 24 October.
Potential next opponent: Vaughan Lee. The English veteran’s head may be on the chopping block after his second consecutive defeat on Saturday but if the UFC give him another opportunity, a match-up with Seery would be intriguing and almost certainly entertaining. If Lee is given his marching orders by the UFC, a rearranged bout between Seery and Richie Vaculik — which was due to take place last December — would suffice instead.

Paul Redmond

CW55 Source: Dolly Clew

Redmond, a Team Ryano team-mate of Seery’s, has had an 0-2 start to life in the UFC (10-6 overall). The 28-year-old featherweight suffered a first-round TKO loss in Glasgow on Saturday against Robert Whiteford, but those who saw Redmond in action prior to his move to the UFC will know that there’s much better to come if he’s given the opportunity.
Potential next opponent: Arnold Allen. After his impressive submission victory against Alan Omer in his UFC debut last month, Allen is keen for his next bout to be in Dublin on 24 October. A meeting with his former Cage Warriors colleague at the 3Arena makes sense for both fighters.

Conor McGregor

UFC 189 Mixed Martial Arts Source: AP/Press Association Images

The biggest star in MMA today defeated Chad Mendes at UFC 189 to become the UFC’s interim featherweight champion. McGregor (18-2 overall, 6-0 UFC) will now focus on his duties as a coach, going up against Urijah Faber on season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Potential next opponent: Jose Aldo. There’s no guesswork to be done here. This title unification bout will take place when Aldo returns from injury. December in Dallas and January in Las Vegas have been rumoured.

Joseph Duffy

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Joseph Duffy Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Duffy (14-1 overall, 2-0 UFC) looked extremely impressive in Glasgow on Saturday as he submitted BJJ black belt Ivan Jorge. The already-considerable hype behind Duffy has since moved up a notch, with many fans calling for the Donegal native to be given a headline slot for Dublin on 24 October against the likes of Dustin Poirier or Nate Diaz.
Potential next opponent: Nick Hein. While Duffy, even at this early stage, certainly looks ready to mix it with ranked opponents, we suspect that the UFC will resist the urge to rush his development. A clash with a fellow highly-regarded prospect like Hein could be a likely addition for the 3Arena this autumn.

Norman Parke

Norman Parke 16/7/2014 Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

This year so far has delivered a couple of split-decision losses for the Antrim native. The most recent — against Francisco Trinaldo in May — was particularly controversial, so Parke (20-4-1 overall, 4-2-1 UFC) will be desperate to pick up his first win of 2015 if he’s matched up in Dublin on 24 October.
Potential next opponent: Gilbert Burns. This fight was supposed to take place in Brazil until Burns withdrew injured, before being replaced by Trinaldo. A recent Twitter exchange between Burns and Parke suggests that it might be fixed for Dublin instead.

Cathal Pendred

Cathal Pendred Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The Dublin welterweight fought twice this summer. A win over Augusto Montano on 13 June in Mexico City was followed by a defeat to John Howard in Las Vegas four weeks later — a fight Pendred took on just two weeks’ notice. Pendred (17-3-1 overall, 4-1 UFC) says he plans to take a six-month break from MMA in order to focus on boxing and improve his stand-up, but first he wants to fight in Dublin on 24 October.
Potential next opponent: Leon Edwards. The English welterweight picked up his second UFC win in Glasgow on Saturday and has the kind of offensive approach which may bring out the best in Pendred. SBG head coach John Kavanagh mentioned the possibility of the match-up recently in his exclusive column here on The42.

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Paul Dollery

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