UFC newcomer Kurt Holobaugh has heard all the stories about first time Octagon jitters.
It's a famous phobia that infects many debuting fighters, and once they step foot inside the Octagon, game plans, strategies and training go out the window. What was supposed to be well-oiled machine turns into an emotional, nervous mess that struggles to connect a punch or stop a takedown.
Holobaugh will make his UFC debut this weekend, but he's not worried about nerves heading into his fight against Steven Siler at UFC 159. His only fear comes from the possibility of a defeat, and that's a motivational factor whether he's in the UFC or the local regional shows he fought in for years.
"There is a little bit of pressure because losing my first fight was bad enough, but coming into a big time league with two straight losses isn't going to look good even if I do have a good fight," Holobaugh told Bleacher Report. "That's what I think is the most pressure that I don't want to lose two fights in a row. Fighting in the UFC is a dream, I don't think anybody should be nervous about it. Fear of losing in the UFC is the only thing on my shoulders."
Holobaugh didn't even have time to get nervous for his last fight when he stepped up on 10 days notice to face Pat Healy on the final Strikeforce show in January. While his body is built for featherweight, Holobaugh took the opportunity because he wanted a shot at the big time.
It was definitely a learning experience, and while he still hates the fact that he lost, Holobaugh is a better fighter today because of that moment.
"It was still a loss and it took me a while to get over, but I fought a good fight and I think I definitely had the skill to win that fight," Holobaugh stated. "A lot of rookie mistakes cost me that fight, but I think I've learned from them and I'm hoping it doesn't happen again."
Following a tough, three-round grind against a wrestler like Healy, Holobaugh is excited to face a fighter like Siler, who he believes will be just the candidate to put on a show with him. They may be the opening fight on the preliminary card, but Holobaugh wants to get every fan in the arena on their feet and even gain the attention of his new boss at the UFC.
"I think that's why I'm so excited for this fight because just the stylistic matchup and how we match up," Holobaugh stated. "This is a chance for me and him to go out and put on a show and set the bar high.
"Me personally, I want a fight of the night. That's what I'm going for. I want a good back and forth barnburner and I want Dana White to say wow."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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