Irish UFC fighter Paddy Holohan has spoken about the difficulties of making weight, and the punishing regimes MMA fighters undergo, claiming that they were “the most dedicated athletes in the world”.
Holohan was dominant in seeing off Shane Howell at the UFC Fight Night event in Boston earlier this month, and though he did not finish off Howell within the three rounds, winning 30-27 in the end, he was happy with his performance.
“I did exactly what I said I was going to do,” Holohan told RTÉ Sport. “I was a little bit upset not to get the [...] finish, but that was one of my best performances. I really enjoyed that fight.”
He fought at flyweight, and for a fighter who is recorded as 177cm (5’10”), and has previously fought at bantamweight and above, reaching this weight is no mean feat.
“I fought at bantamweight for a long time, which is 61kg. I’ve even fought at 64kg and 66kg, because I couldn’t get matched in the country,” he said.
“But making the weight for me for 57kg - I always knew I’d end up at 57kg because that’s when I had to take this serious step forward, and make my life a lot more professional, and things like that – but 57kg is tough for me.
“It’s not easy for me being the biggest smallest man on the planet. But that’s who I am when I check in that day. I used to be the small guy in the fights; now I’m looking across and they’re the small guys in the fights.”
He also spoke about how his weight fluctuates between the weigh-in and the fight. On the weigh-in day for the Howell fight, he said, he was 125lb – “which is championship weight” – but “on the day then, I was up to 140lb.
"I used to be the small guy in the fights; now I’m looking across and they’re the small guys in the fights" - Holohan
“Through the ISI, and all the guys on the team, and John Connor and the Irish Strength Institute: we have this down to a science, now, you know what I mean; we have this figured.”
Holohan’s harsh regime extends beyond training day; he joked about bringing his son for fast food, “and I just drool, sitting there! It’s so hard: [I’m saying], ‘Hurry up and eat it! Hurry up and eat it!’”
He claimed that MMA practitioners were “by far the most dedicated athletes on the planet” and - with tongue perhaps a little in cheek - had little time for the difficulties of pre-season regimes often mentioned by soccer players.
“This pre-season thing that goes around: you want to come over to our side, and check out pre-season. Pre-season? There’s no such thing as before and after a season. There’s no such thing as, ‘I’m getting good now, and I’m not getting good now. You’re always getting good.
“Pre-season is casual running. That’s what it is. I do pre-season on my days off!” he laughed.
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