HUNDREDS of people from all across Cork lined the streets of Farranree on Monday to welcome home MMA world champion Louise Brady.
The 17-year-old won the title last Saturday at the Youth World MMA Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Her gold medal was achieved through two first round submissions in searing temperatures at the showpiece event.
The teenager was surprised by scores of family, friends, and well-wishers when she arrived home.
“It’s amazing and it hasn’t set in yet,” she summed everything up.
“It was massive. I didn’t expect everyone. Like, all my friends, family, and the local community were waiting there.”
Monday was an accumulation of years of hard work by Brady, who trains with MMA Cork in Blackpool.
“I went last year and I got a bronze medal. I’ve been training a year now for this. I’ve been training a lot harder and I put in the hours,” Brady explained.
“It has been a rollercoaster of emotions really. Before the fight, I was a bag of nerves. I didn’t know if I would have had it in me.
"I was in the dressing room panicking. From there to now, I feel on top of the world.
“The adrenaline is starting to wear off now and I’m feeling the travelling and the long hours.”
As thing slow down around her, the weight of Brady’s achievement is starting to sink in.
“It’s massive, especially for young girls in the area,” she said.
“Even my friends are saying, I’m so quiet in school. Even my teachers can’t believe I do MMA, never mind winning a world championship.
"It is huge.”
Brady’s success has brought together members from every MMA club in Cork.
Even John Mitchell, who fights with UAE Warriors, checked in on the 17-year-old before her fight.
“John trained with me for a long time in MMA Cork and when we were over in Abu Dhabi he was reaching out,” she said.
“Four Cork people went over, myself MMA Cork and three with SBG Cork. It was really nice to see more numbers from Cork than Dublin.”
Brady now hopes to push on and fight again before the end of 2022.
“I will have a lot of fights coming up,” she said.
“I have one coming up now in October, hopefully at Neptune Stadium. I’ll hopefully continue my amateur career.
"I’ll be turning eighteen soon so I’m just getting myself prepared and I’ll be working my way up the ranks.”