Paddy ‘The Hooligan’ Holohan has been enjoying some down time since his last trip to the Octagon. On a few days notice the Irish fan-favorite stepped up to the plate to take on Louis Smolka in Dublin’s main event in October for his last bout, but after an action packed two rounds in the Irish capital, Holohan lost by decision.
In his hometown and with the late withdrawal of fellow Irishman, Joe Duffy, from the headline slot, it’s no surprise that Holohan felt obliged to take on the task at the 02 Arena last October.
“I did feel pressure to take it, definitely,” said Holohan. “At the time I was just doing what fighter’s do, I was biting down and saying whatever, you know? You just want to get to the fight, you’re focusing on your weight cut, so you honestly don’t care about where your fight is on the card.
“When I take myself out of the situation and look at it, it was an awful lot to do on a few days notice. I don’t think it played too much into it because if I had finished that fight it would have been a completely different story.
“When that main event came I was going through some stuff in my life and I didn’t realize I was,” explained the charismatic Irish flyweight. “My girlfriend was moving over from Dublin, and I had some other personal things going on. Now, everything has settled. I had the opening of the new SBG gym hanging over me, but now the builders are in and everything. My girlfriend is living here and she’s settled in too.
“All I have to worry about is training. I’m in a good routine. I think my last training camp was knocked off course a bit with everything that was happening. It got switched to a main event very late too, so I would’ve liked to have a little bit more time to prepare. I’m delighted with this next fight and I’m delighted that I’m on the Rotterdam card. I think that having that solid routine will make a big difference when I get in there.”
The time off since the Dublin barnburner has allowed Holohan to sort out some reoccurring issues that have been bothering him long before he signed on the dotted line for UFC. The SBG fighter was forced to sidelines for over year after undergoing a discectomy following his loss in the elimination round of TUF 18, before making his UFC debut in July 2014. It seems Holohan’s attempts to rehabilitate his back have been ongoing ever since.
He said: “There are a few different things that I’ve sussed out since with my back. I had nerve damage in my leg too, I don’t want to go on and on about it, but since I fixed them things my cardio has gone through the roof. I didn’t even realize how much it was holding me back until it was fixed.”
Everything has settled down in the personal life of Holohan, which has allowed him to spend more time preparing for his upcoming bout. Having been able to remedy his reoccurring back problem since his UFC main event debut in Dublin, Holohan claimed that his strength and conditioning regime has been more productive than ever before.
“I have a lot stability now. My girlfriend has picked up a job and everything, so it’s really working out very well for me. She works down at the gym and I head off training, we’ve found a nice balance. My dog is just after having some pups so we’re looking after them too.
“I’ve been able to add a few new things into my camp as well. My strength and conditioning has picked up and I feel like my back is better than ever. My cardio has come on leaps and bounds too. I’m hitting numbers and figures that I’ve never seen before.”
The new prowess he is showing in the gym will bode well for Holohan as he heads into a crucial contest in Rotterdam. Currently 3-2 under the UFC banner and coming off a loss in his last outing, the Dubliner feels like his future with the promotion could be on the line when he meets Willie Gates in Rotterdam on May 8.
“I definitely feel like my contract is on the line. Two losses in a row and you could be gone. And if I’m being honest, if you’ve lost two on the bounce, you probably deserve to go,” he explained.
With ‘Whoop Ass Willie’ in a similar position, currently 1-2 with UFC and coming off a loss to Dustin Ortiz back in August, we can expect both of the rangy flyweights to leave everything in the Octagon next month. Both men are known for throwing caution to the wind when they compete, so Dutch fans and the watching world could be in for a treat when the bell finally sounds at the Ahoy Rotterdam.
Check out these related stories:
The Mixed Martial Arts of Victorian London
Before BJJ, there was Bartitsu.
Jonathan Maicelo: The Last Inca
Peru's up-and-coming boxing star.
Kron Gracie on Jiu-Jitsu, Skateboarding, Older Brothers, and Famous Fathers
The ties that bind are strong.
Joel Tudor on the Art of Surfing, Fighting, and Style
A surf icon helps MMA keep its sense of tradition.
Japan's Karate Kid: Kyoji Horiguchi
Japan's brightest MMA prospect.