MMA News

UFC 225 winner Holly Holm: 135-pound title 'probably closest to my heart, but I want it all'

By

on


CHICAGO – Amid Holly Holm’s “we’ll-see-what-happens” attitude in the lead-up to her UFC 225 meeting with Megan Anderson, one thing was clear: The former women’s bantamweight champion still had sights on re-claiming the belt of a division that felt like “a little more my home.”

On Saturday at Chicago’s United Center, Holm (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) took no notice of Anderson’s (8-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) notable size advantage and put on a dominant display en route to a unanimous-decision win. While that meant a first featherweight win for Holm – after two failed bids for the 145-pound title – it was the bantamweight division that came calling when its current champ Amanda Nunes (16-4 MMA, 9-1 UFC), issued a straightforward “let’s do it” after UFC 225.

Even the women’s featherweight champ, whom Holm met – and lost to – once, Cris Cyborg, encouraged the matchup (albeit with a follow-up suggestion of her own). Between that, and Holm’s previously stated desire, it would appear that’s pretty much a done deal, right?

Well, Holm doesn’t seem exactly mean mad at the idea. But, as per usual with Holm, “We’ll see what happens in the future.”

“Anything you lose, you want back, right?” Holm said after the pay-per-view main-card fight, when asked by MMAjunkie if a bantamweight title fight is next. “That’s something that’s dear to you. I think that’s probably closest to my heart, but I want it all. I don’t think that you’d even get in this game if you don’t want it all. I want it all. I want victories. I want belts. I want all of it.

“And it’s just one step at a time, one fight at a time, and really the only thing on my plate right now was tonight. I’m going to enjoy that.”

Chicago, Holm said, is a “home away from home” for her and, right now, the only plan she has is enjoying it with the friends and family who were there to support her. Now, recovered from a UFC 219 loss to Cyborg, she just wants to take her big win in.

“Sometimes, I think I don’t give myself enough time to just enjoy my life a little bit,” Holm said.

Although up-and-coming contender Ketlen Vieira probably wouldn’t be too happy to hear about it, a meeting between Holm and Nunes isn’t a crazy idea. Sure, Holm didn’t have the brightest of stretches after claiming the 135-pound belt, with four losses in six fights, but it’s important to note that the two most recent defeats were at featherweight. Her most recent bantamweight outing ended in a knockout win over former title challenger Bethe Correia.

Another factor that could sweeten the pot for the fans here is the fact that this would be a fresh matchup. While the two have quite a few opponents in common, from most recent title challenge Raquel Pennington to former champions Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, Nunes and Holm have never before fought.

As for how Holm believes she’d fare there?

“Every fighter can be beat,” Holm said. “And that’s how I feel. She is very tough, and she’s proven that. She’s run through some girls. She was very dominant in her last performance with a very game – Raquel is a very game fighter. She’s usually a little scrapper. It’s definitely a tough fight, but what am I here for? I don’t want to take the easy route and then at the end of my career think I wish I would have pushed myself a little more.”

This mentality seems to have helped with Anderson, too. Faced with a lengthy striker in the former Invicta FC champion, Holm was smart, showing off both her physical prowess in the handling of a clearly bigger opponent and an on-point wrestling game that annulled whatever offense the Australian UFC debutante had in store.

Despite Holm’s experience, there were questions if Anderson’s power and size would end up just being too much to handle. Clearly, it wasn’t. And, for Holm, a lot of it came down to just making sure that the very awareness didn’t overwhelm her.

“She hit pretty hard; it’s not been the hardest I’ve ever been hit, but she’s very strong, very powerful,” Holm said. “She’s a big person. She towers over me. She’s a big fighter. All week, I like to see her, look at her. I like to see my opponent. I don’t want to get in there the night of my fight and then look across, because they always look bigger than life, anyway, when you’re about to fight them.

“She’s a big girl, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t beatable. I just wanted to make sure I was staying level-headed, and I just believe in my training. I know I put a lot of hard work into it, and I knew I would react the way I should if I really believed in my training.”

Maybe the “every fighter can be beat” line isn’t exactly the most original in the fight game, but it does make sense coming from someone who did the unthinkable by putting a spectacular end to Rousey’s unbeaten reign at UFC 193.

As we know, things didn’t go too well for Rousey’s MMA career after that. Given a chance to re-claim her belt after a bit of a layoff, she was demolished by Nunes. While Rousey never officially retired from MMA, she threw some pretty solid hints at that and made no secret of how happy she is with her new life as a WWE star.

The MMA world’s appreciation for the UFC’s first women’s champ continues, though, and on Saturday, her induction into the UFC Hall of Fame was announced. Holm, on her end, was pleased to see that – though she does clarify that Rousey’s achievements did count on the help of other women.

“I think that’s great,” Holm said. “She did a lot for the sport. She’s done a lot for the UFC. She’s done a lot for bringing the women into, kind of the – women have been around with mixed martial arts for a long time. But she kind of helped open some of those doors for a lot of us. With that being said, one person can’t do it. In order to have a fight, you have to have two people.

“She did a lot. (She’s) kind of being an inspiration for a lot of other girls coming in. You have to have two to make a fight. So, a lot of these other girls kind of chasing that dream with her, and she stood her ground for a long time. She was a very dominant champion, and I’m happy for her.”

For complete coverage of UFC 225, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



Source link

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *