EXCLUSIVE | Alchemist Prospect Kurt Holobaugh: “I’m a fight or two away from the UFC”
The last time BJPenn.com spoke with undefeated featherweight prospect Kurt Holobaugh, he was preparing to square off with Ronnie Rogers to continue his unbeaten momentum. Holobaugh won that fight with a second round submission victory and upped his professional record to 8-0. That was merely two months ago and now the tough Alchemist managed fighter is just hours away from doing it all over again.
Holobaugh fights Wesley Dunlap tonight for Blood and Sands in Biloxi, Mississippi. Dunlap who is 0-3 in his professional career was not the original opponent but was the only one willing to actually fight this rising prospect.
“I had a couple of opponents back out of this fight with me and they finally locked a guy into a contract,” Holobaugh told BJPenn.com.
“His name is Wesley Dunlap and he’s 3-2 I believe. I went from fighting a top 10 opponent from Canada to this guy so I just have to make the best of it.”
Holobaugh is unaware of the fact that his opponent is winless in his professional career. It looks like an easy fight for the undefeated blue chipper on paper but MMA is not a paper sport. This is a dangerous fight for Holobaugh because he has very little to gain, other than adding another win to his record.
However, Holobaugh shouldn’t have a problem. He is 8-0 with seven finishes and all seven of them have been by way of submission. He recently made the drop down from lightweight to featherweight and feels he is extremely close to signing with the UFC or another big organization.
“I definitely thought I would be a little faster [at featherweight] because I started fighting at welterweight and then I dropped to lightweight and it just seemed like the guys actually got bigger,” Holobaugh said.
“My coach and I thought [dropping to 145-lbs] would give me a better chance for a UFC run or a Bellator run so I like this weight. It’s a little harder to get down [to 145] but so far it’s been good for me.”
Holobaugh’s UFC dream almost became a reality this past Spring as he tried out for The Ultimate Fighter: Live in the lightweight division. He made it far in the casting but ultimately wasn’t chosen as part of the final 32. If given the opportunity again, he would love to do the show but he is hoping to get a shot in the UFC without going the reality show route.
“It was a good experience trying out [for The Ultimate Fighter: Live] to see what it’s all like and going down to Vegas for the first time. It was pretty cool just being in that atmosphere with a bunch of guys trying to do the same thing I was. I actually got the call and they flew me back out so I was in the top 70 of guys and then I got another call saying that I wasn’t going to be needed. I was never actually cut, I just didn’t make the final 32,” Holobaugh said.
“I’d love the opportunity [to compete on TUF] but hopefully I can just win a few more fights and get an undercard shot in the UFC.”
How close exactly is Holobaugh from getting that chance? Well, in his eyes he is just a fight or two away. If he gets past Dunlap tonight he will be a 9-0 fighter with a very high finish percentage and that is exactly what the UFC is looking for in a prospect.
“I’m hopefully a fight or two away [from signing with the UFC]. There’s a lot of featherweights in the UFC right now that don’t have the greatest records so hopefully being undefeated will help me out a little bit,” Holobaugh said.
“I’d match up really well with a lot of the featherweights in the UFC but I’m not looking to jump my way all the way to the top and try to fight Jose Aldo right off the bat. I want to take my time, stay on the undercard and eventually earn my spot and fight for the title one day.”
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