UFC's Dublin Return Is Relying on Big Irish Performances in July

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Yesterday, it was announced that UFC Fight Night: Dublin is returning to the 3 Arena on October 24, the same venue that hosted last year’s record-breaking event in the Irish capital.

UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao marked the featherweight’s return to Ireland as a main attraction. The promotion’s first card in the country since UFC 93 back in 2009, it sold out in less than three minutes after the tickets were officially released.

From Paddy Holohan, the curtain raiser on the night, right up to ‘The Notorious’ himself, the Irish contingent claimed six victories in as many outings. The passionate crowd sang themselves hoarse in return for the countrymen’s achievements, and writers from across the water reported on the unique and memorable night it had been in Dublin.

Dana White couldn’t hide his delight with the Irish support and praised their participation in the post-fight press conference.

“I told you last time that Ireland was the loudest place pound for pound for an event,” said White, “they blew the doors off this place tonight, it was crazy. The sound was at 111 decibels when (Conor) came out, when he was in there and when he won,” he added. “A rock concert is 110.”

According to White, there is a long list of fighters from all over the world that want to compete in Dublin after seeing last year’s event. More importantly for the Irish fans, there are a lot of active Irish fighters on the roster that they will want to see in action on October 24.

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The man that would top the Irish fans’ wish list for performers is undoubtedly ‘The Notorious’ featherweight that will meet Chad Mendes on July 11. Although White hinted that McGregor would only fight in Dublin again should the Irish city host a stadium show, on yesterday’s UFC 189 conference call McGregor expressed a lot of interest in competing at the October event.

When asked if a unification bout with Aldo was possible at Dublin’s October date, McGregor insisted that Lorenzo Fertitta had no interest in having him compete in the arena which held 9,500 fans last time around.

“I spoke with Lorenzo two days ago and he was trying to say that they wanted bigger stadiums because this event is in the (3 Arena)—a 9,500 seat stadium in Dublin,” said McGregor. “

“He wants me on a bigger one, but I was saying ‘you don’t have a show in my hometown and not have me on it.’ Certainly, I want to be on that card but we’ll have to see how it plays out. Any time the UFC rolls into my town, I want to be on that card.”

From July 11 to July 18 there will be seven of the Irish contingent competing—McGregor, Gunnar Nelson, Cathal Pendred, Neil Seery, Paul Redmond, Joseph Duffy and Paddy Holohan—and how they fare in them bouts will undoubtedly have an impact on what kind of card UFC will bring back to the Irish capital. The UFC have yet to announce any bouts on the card, which could be due to having so many fighters from the country in action over the next few weeks.

Only Ais ‘The Bash’ Daly and Norman Parke have no current bouts announced, but rest assured, all nine of the fighters on the roster attached to the Emerald Isle will want a piece of October 24.

Pendred moves to 5-0 under the UFC banner if he claims victory over John Howard on July 11, you’d think that would nearly guarantee him a well-known opponent in Dublin. Neil Seery takes his unbeaten streak to three in the flyweight division with a win over Louis Smolka on the same night, which would be one of the most considerable purple patches in the bracket. Holohan is a man that has already turned plenty of heads at 125 lbs, and he could be another man looking at big test on October 24 should he see off Vaughan Lee in Glasgow.

Redmond needs a win over Whiteford to solidify his place on the UFC’s roster, another hometown fighter who the Irish will want to see on the night. After his impressive debut win, Joseph Duffy has generated a lot of interest around himself and if he has his hand raised in Scotland it should make way for his toughest challenge under the UFC banner thus far.

Gunnar Nelson has always been considered an honorary Irishman due to his strong links with John Kavanagh and SBG. Worshipped by the Irish fans, a win over dangerous welterweight Brandon Thatch could put ‘Gunni’ in pole position to headline the card given his presence in the 170 lbs rankings.

While the upcoming Irish challenges gives fans more incentive than ever to cheer for their countrymen, let’s be honest, even if they Irish fighters were coming into the event off losses, the 3 Arena would inevitably sell out. Despite an absolutely horrific showing at the UEFA European Championships in 2012—Ireland lost all three games in their group and scored only one goal—the Irish in Poland still won the title of “best fans in the world” due to the way they supported their team.

The next few weeks should give us a good impression of what kind of card we will be getting as the Irish fighters will undoubtedly be put on center stage in October. 


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