Aisling Daly joins us in the studio for episode #099 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast. Aisling is a retired pro MMA fighter, Ireland's first ever; MMA World Champion, female UFC fighter & BJJ blackbelt. Ais was Paddy's training partner for 10 years, they also cornered each other & coached one another during camps. It goes without saying that Daly is a true OG of Irish MMA, a trailblazer to so many of the original SBG Ireland line up that took the UFC by storm.
On this weeks episode the two stalwarts of Irish MMA go through everything from start to finish, the highs & the lows of their amazing careers, including the fallout after UFC Dublin in 2015. Stick the kettle on & strap yourself in for this one, it's another cracker.
Watch Episode #099 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast below:
Aisling had years of Karate under her belt before she began training BJJ in her late teens, Daly talks about the hoops she had to jump through throughout her career to gain the same kind of recognition her male team mates were receiving; not that they had it all their own way either. Nobody took her serious when she started because there were so few women in the sport at the time.
Trying to get a fight proved a tall order for Ais. The Dublin native would have to earn her blue belt coupled with years of competing before getting her first MMA fight. Instead of giving up, Daly worked even harder & slowly began to win people over.
Daly rose to 9-0 in the pro ranks before becoming the face of Irish MMA in 2007, appearing on the Late Late show, the distinctive short pink hair made her instantly recognisable to the public.
Listen to / Download episode #099 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast below:
In 2010, Daly became the first ever Irish female to fight for Bellator. It was a fight she'd ultimately lose to Lisa Ellis via UD after a gruelling 17 week camp left her with practically no energy. The blow of being handed her fist loss as a professional fighter was compounded by the fact Bellator claimed the cost of her visa was higher than her purse & she infact owed them $900 due to cost of her visa. Having put everything on the line only to be told she owed money to the organisation shows how poorly prepared the fighters were for the corporate world of the game. Equally it highlights how far the dial has moved in 10 years.
Having a dream to make it to the UFC at a time when president Dana White famously stated that Women would never fight for the promotion, is testament to Daly's strength of character & belief in herself. It was just another barrier, but one she felt she could overcome.
Aisling Daily is the first ever Irish person to win a world title in Irish MMA, earning an incredible second round victory with the RNC finish over Jessica Eye to win the NAAFF 125lbs belt in Cleveland Ohio back in 2011. Aisling talks about being brought over to lose the fight & silenced an extremely hostile crowd with her stunning victory.
Paddy acknowledges that Aisling's career opened doors for all the other fighters in the gym, including The Hooligan himself, which helped to pave the way for the era of the Irish Invasion in The UFC. Paddy reflects on the day Ais told him Conor had signed for the UFC; claiming it was a real 'we made it' moment.
The UFC & Dana White Eventually opened the doors to the introduction of female fighters to the roster with Ronda Rousey defending her belt against Liz Carmouche in the first female fight at UFC 157, in 2013.
In 2014 Aisling took part in The Ultimate Fighter: Team Pettis vs. Team Melendez. It wasn't a good experience for Daly who talks about the mind games that other fighters were playing in the house, with her food supplies being tampered with & her training gear stolen. Ais was tied up with the Ultimate Fighter & would Ultimately miss that famous night at the 3Arena when the UFC returned to Dublin & the Irish announced themselves to the world stage. It was tough for Daly to watch from a far but talks of the boost she got after Paddy thanked her in his victory speech after submitting Josh Sampo in round one.
Aisling would reach the quarter final stage of the Ultimate fighter before being offered a fight wit the UFC on the season finale in Las Vegas. Paddy was with her for that & talks of the brutal weight cut Daly faced in the build up to her fight with Alex Chambers. Paddy talks of the scary moment he thought Aisling had died in the bath following her attempt to cut 12 pounds.
Despite suffering depleted dehydration levels similar to those faced by a stranded dessert survivor, Daly went on to win her fight via submission, however she ended up in hospital after the fight.
The two OG's of MMA close the show by talking about the strain on their relationship after UFC Dublin: Holohan V Smolka. The build up for the October 2015 bout, meant they couldn't train together or corner each other & both had contrasting results on the night. After 10 years of being tight they drifted apart. Ais felt it was her chance to finally get the recognition she fully deserved & had to be ruthless. Time is a great healer & Paddy fully understands her perspective & vice versa. Sometimes people need a break, it was an intense 10 years.
This is a deeply powerful episode from start to finish on never giving up, it's never too late to reconcile either with the right people. There's nothing that pleases us more than seeing the two trailblazer's back together.
The full episode #099 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast is available now across all the usual platforms including iTunes, Spoity & Youtube. You don't want to miss this one, we know you've been expecting this for a while & we promise you won't be disappointed, No Shame.