Kurt Holobaugh on Titan FC 29 Opponent Lloyd Woodard: “We’re Going to Steal the Show”
A little over two years ago, Titan FC featherweight Kurt Holobaugh (12-2) was riding just about as highly as a man in his position could hope to. He had just won his ninth fight in a row, winning by vicious first-round knockout and was on the verge of signing with Strikeforce, the now-defunct MMA promotion aired on Showtime. To cap off that already excellent set of circumstances, he had just gotten married. A knockout victory, a contract with the second-largest promotion out there and a new wife – what a day!
For a time, it was the talk of many MMA media outlets.
“That was a great day, for sure, but the marriage wasn’t so great; it didn’t work out,” he told me in response to the first question I asked him during our 10-minute conversation – not exactly the best way to start off the interview.
The 27-year-old followed up that fight with an extremely competitive bout with Pat Healy in Strikeforce’s final event at the beginning of 2013, performing well enough that, even though he lost, Dana White and company thought highly enough of him to hold onto his contract when they absorbed the company shortly afterwards. He was a no-brainer – a proven talented proven finisher who had given Healy, a longtime veteran of the sport, pretty much all he could handle.
His first assignment: “Super” Steven Siler, whose outward appearance hides a deceptively tough competitor. Holobaugh performed decently, though not well enough to earn the favor of the judges, who unanimously ruled the bout for his opponent.
Had he perhaps succumbed to the infamous “Octagon jitter,” I asked him?
“It was probably a bit of everything,” he conceded. “That was right around the time I was going through my divorce, after the Pat Healy fight, when all that kind of hit. You get up there to the UFC for your first time and things are so crazy. It had an effect on me a little bit.”
He since has rebounded with three straight wins – his last a unanimous decision victory over Eric Marriott in his debut with Titan Fighting Championship back in February of this year.
If it seems like Holabaugh’s timeline is rather busy, that’s because he’s fought a minimum of four fights a year since he made his professional debut in2011. The Louisiana resident – who trains at Gracie United in Hammond, LA under professor Rafael Ellwanger – attributes his active schedule, more than anything, to the fact that, well… he just kind of loves the sport.
“I like to be able to fight every three months,” he said. “I like to stay busy. It doesn’t feel right if I’m not training for a fight. I’ve just always been a big UFC fan, you know? I remember my mom and stepdad up late at night watching Tank Abbott fight in the UFC and talk about it. I always said I was going to be a boxer because I was into boxing at that time, with Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. As it turned out, I got into MMA and became a mixed martial artist instead, which is pretty cool.”
This Friday, Holobaugh will face off against Bellator veteran Lloyd “Cupcake” Woodard (13-4) in a featherweight title eliminator match that has “Fight of the Night” written all over it.
“Our styles are kind of similar, you know,” said Holobaugh. “He’s a game opponent. He went into Bellator and tried to take them by storm, racking up two good victories against two of the best guys at the time. He’s a good fighter and I’m probably going to have to just catch him off guard, maybe when he’s coming a little too hard. Hopefully I can exploit that.”
He’s also eager to get back on TV.
“I really do [enjoy being in the spotlight], especially after being in Strikeforce,” he said. “My UFC fight was on the Facebook prelims, but still, after I came back out of that and had to fight two times back on the local shows, that really got to me. I feel like I’m somebody whenever I’m in that spotlight, and that’s where I want to be. That’s why I fight the way I do, and that’s what I’m going to do in my next fight. Me and Lloyd Woodard are going to steal the show.”
Kurt Holobaugh is fighting Lloyd Woodard on the televised portion of Titan FC 29: Ricci vs. Sotiropoulos, which airs live on CBS Sports at 10 p.m./7 p.m. ET|PT. The prelims, which air exclusively on CBSSports.com, begin at 8:30 p.m./5:30 p.m. ET|PT. Click HERE for more information.