Straight Blast Gym - Ireland

Straight Blast Gym Ireland is a mixed martial arts academy and professional team based in Dublin, Ireland. It is run by John Kavanagh, and is part of Straight Blast Gym International.[1] The team has produced several Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters, most notably being Conor McGregor.

Straight Blast Gym Ireland
Straight Blast Gym.jpeg
Founded byJohn Kavanagh
Primary trainersJohn Kavanagh (head coach)
Philip Mulpeter (fitness)
Sergey Pikulskiy (wrestling)
Karl Cannon (Muay Thai)
Tom King (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)
Clive Staunton (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)
Past titleholdersConor McGregor
Ultimate Fighting Championship (Lightweight Champion: 2016-18)
Ultimate Fighting Championship (Featherweight Champion: 2015-16)
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (Lightweight Champion: 2012-13)
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (Featherweight Champion: 2012-13)
John Phillips
(Middleweight Champion: 2016)

Frans Mlambo
IMMAF World Championships
(Featherweight Champion: 2015)

Cathal Pendred
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (Welterweight Champion: 2013)
Luka Jelčić
Final Fight Championship
(Lightweight Champion: 2016)
Training facilitiesDublin, Ireland


The gym was founded in 2001 by John Kavanagh, who was a black belt in karate. Later that year it became part of Matt Thornton's Straight Blast Gym International (SBGi), a worldwide association of over 35 gyms, after Kavanagh met Thornton at a tournament in Africa. After partnering with SBGi, Thornton awarded Kavanagh his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) purple belt in 2002. Three years later, Kavanagh won gold at the 2005 European BJJ Championship. In 2007, he was awarded his BJJ black belt, making Kavanagh Ireland's first ever BJJ black belt in the process.[2]

After 15 years at SBG Ireland, main striking coach Owen Roddy announced his departure in the end of November 2018.[3]

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

In 2009, Tom Egan became SBG's first ever fighter to compete in the UFC. Egan lost to John Hathaway at UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson in Dublin. It wasn't until 2012 that SBG returned to the UFC, when Gunnar Nelson made his debut against DaMarques Johnson at UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic, winning via first-round rear-naked choke. The following year, Conor McGregor made his debut in Sweden. He defeated Marcus Brimage with a first-round knockout, and marked the beginning of a new era of success for the team.[4]

At UFC 189 on 11 July 2015, SBG won their first UFC belt. In the main event of the evening, Conor McGregor had been booked to face José Aldo for the UFC Featherweight title. Aldo pulled out of the fight due to a rib injury however, meaning McGregor instead faced Chad Mendes for the interim title. McGregor won the fight via second-round TKO, on a card that also featured a loss and a victory for SBG fighters Cathal Pendred and Gunnar Nelson respectively.[5]

At UFC 194, an event which set numerous records,[6] Conor McGregor finally got the chance to become the undisputed UFC Featherweight champion, and unify his belt against José Aldo who had been undefeated in over ten years. It took McGregor only 13 seconds to KO the Brazilian, making it the fastest ever finish in a UFC championship match.[7]

The Ultimate FighterEdit

Following McGregor's interim title win at UFC 189, the UFC announced that he would be coaching against Urijah Faber in Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter.[8] In a "Europe vs USA" themed installment, McGregor was aided by his SBG coaches, Sergey Pikulskiy, Owen Roddy, Arkadiusz Sternalski and former SBG fighter Tom Egan who now coaches out of Peter Welch's Gym in Boston. Despite a slow start, Team Europe took six fighters into the quarter-finals, and then had three of the remaining four in the semi-finals. SBG's Artem Lobov was due to face England's Saul Rogers in an all-European Final, but visa issues saw Team USA's Ryan Hall replace Rogers in the season finale, where he utilized his superior grappling to great effect, and earned a unanimous decision victory over Lobov.[9]


Status Name Weight Class Information Most Recent
Active   Makwan Amirkhani 145 lb Four-time Finnish medalist in Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Active   Francisco Barrio 145 lb Five-time international medalist in Greco-Roman Wrestling. Final Fight Championship
Active   Ilias Bulaid 145 lb World Champion in Kickboxing. Bellator
Active   Pedro Carvalho 145 lb Former Bellator Featherweight title challenger. Bellator
Active   Kiefer Crosbie 170 lb Bellator
Retired   Aisling Daly 115 lb Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Active   Dillon Danis 170 lb Seven-time international medalist and Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Bellator
Active   James Gallagher 145 lb Three-time European medalist and Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Bellator
Active   Hesdy Gerges 245 lb Former World Champion in Kickboxing. Bellator
Retired   Patrick Holohan 125 lb Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Retired   Luka Jelčić 155 lb Former FFC Lightweight Champion. Bellator
Active   Brad Katona 145 lb TUF: Undefeated Featherweight Champion. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Active   Sinead Kavanagh 155 lb IMMAF: World Championships silver medalist. Bellator
Active   Denise Kielholtz 125 lb Current Bellator: Kickboxing Flyweight Champion. Bellator
Active   Taylor Lapilus 135-145 lb Ultimate Fighting Championship
Active   Artem Lobov 145 lb TUF: Season 22 runner-up. Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship
Active   Conor McGregor 145-170 lb Former UFC Lightweight and Featherweight Champion / Former CWFC Lightweight and Featherweight Champion / Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Active   Frans Mlambo 135 lbs Brave Combat Federation
Active   Brian Moore 145 lb Bellator
Active   Gunnar Nelson 170 lb Four-time international medalist and Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu / Black belt in Gōjū-ryū Karate. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Retired   Cathal Pendred 170-185 lb Former CWFC Welterweight Champion / Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Active   John Phillips 185 lb Former BAMMA Middleweight Champion. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Active   Peter Queally 155 lb Bellator
Retired   Owen Roddy 135-145 lb Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Cage Warriors
Active   Daniele Scatizzi 145-170 lb Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Bellator
Active   Richie Smullen 155 lb TUF: Undefeated contestant. Bellator
Active   Charlie Ward 185 lb Bellator
Active   Johnny Walker 185-265 lb Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ultimate Fighting Championship

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World MMA AwardsEdit

SBG and its team members have received various recognitions from The World MMA Awards:[10][11][12][13]

Gym / Personnel


While John Kavanagh's gym remains SBG Ireland's official headquarters, the association has added new branches with gyms across the country. The current gyms are as follows (see

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "John Kavanagh: Irish MMA's Game Changer". UFC. 6 August 2014.
  2. ^ "BJJ – The cradle of MMA". Setanta Sports. 21 January 2014.
  3. ^ Jay Pettry (November 30, 2018). "Owen Roddy Leaves SBG Ireland To Focus On His Own Gym".
  4. ^ "UFC on FUEL 9 results: Conor McGregor debuts with KO over Marcus Brimage". MMA Fighting. 6 April 2013.
  5. ^ "UFC 189 results: Conor McGregor gets title with second-round TKO of Chad Mendes". MMA Junkie. 12 July 2015.
  6. ^ "NSAC confirms UFC 194's record-breaking attendance, gate figures". MMA Junkie. 31 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Conor McGregor's KO Breaks Ronda Rousey's Record for Fastest Title Fight Finish". Bleacher Report. 13 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Conor McGregor, Urijah Faber coach Season 22 of 'The Ultimate Fighter' – U.S. vs. Europe". 13 July 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  9. ^ "UFC TUF 22 Finale results: Ryan Hall puts on grappling clinic, decisions Artem Lobov to win TUF". MMA Mania. 11 December 2015.
  10. ^ "2013 World MMA Awards nominees announced". MMAFighting. 31 December 2013.
  11. ^ "2014 World MMA Awards nominees announced". MMAFighting. 22 December 2014.
  12. ^ "World MMA Awards 2016 Results". MMAFighting. 6 February 2016.
  13. ^ "World MMA Awards 2017 Results". MMAFighting. 2 March 2017.

External linksEdit