In February, Holly Holm will have the opportunity to become the first ever two division champion in the women’s divisions in UFC history when she faces Germaine De Randamie for the inaugural featherweight title at UFC 208.
Holm already previously held the women’s bantamweight title after knocking out Ronda Rousey in November 2015 and now she’ll look to add a second championship to her resume in 2017.
Meanwhile, Rousey will look to win back the 135-pound title when she faces Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on Dec. 30.
If Rousey wins back the bantamweight championship and Holm becomes the first ever UFC women’s featherweight champion it could potentially set up a massive rematch between the two of them. UFC president Dana White even hinted at the possibility recently while saying “I guarantee people will want to see it”.
For her part, Holm won’t speculate beyond her fight in February because she still has to get past De Randamie before she can even contemplate a rematch with Rousey. Of course, Holm was always open to the idea of the rematch even after beating Rousey at UFC 193, but there’s still a lot that has to happen before they could meet for a second time.
“I don’t think about it because there’s a lot that has to happen,” Holm said on Saturday in Sacramento. “That’s what I say when people ask me about it. ‘Hey don’t you want to rematch Ronda?’ and I’m like well there’s a fight that’s taking place Dec. 30 and there’s still a fight taking place Feb. 11 and depending on how both of those go, that could be the make or break of everything, who knows what will happen in three months.
“Anything can happen in three months.”
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First things first, Rousey has to rebound from her loss to Holm after sitting out for the past year and largely fading from the spotlight outside of a few public appearances on TV series like “Saturday Night Live” or interviews with Ellen DeGeneres.
Holm can’t even begin to speculate where Rousey’s mind might be at a year after the first loss of her professional mixed martial arts career. Speaking from her own perspective, Holm has dealt with losses before — even a brutal knockout similar to what happened to Rousey — and she always found a way to climb back up on the horse to ride again.
“I feel like everybody deals with losses different. Maybe time away for her and talking with everybody is what she needs. For me, the way I’ve dealt with it and had to come back from it, I’m coming back from it right now, the only thing that’s ever helped me is just being completely honest with myself,” Holm explained. “I figure the sooner I can deal with it, the sooner I can get past it.
“So I’m the type so let’s just address this right now but I do think coming back from a big loss, I’ve had some big losses before and I know being knocked out cold, being laid out, going back those first punches in a fight are like am I OK? Am I OK? Why am I even asking myself this? I’m OK. Let’s go! I think that’s a make or break moment. Ronda’s never been there in a fight before so I don’t think there’s anyway to tell how she’s going to be in those first exchanges until it happens.”
Even if Rousey is able to get past Nunes that still leaves Holm to get the job done on Feb. 11 against De Randamie before the UFC could even contemplate a rematch.
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While the spotlight on Rousey will burn awfully bright over the next couple of weeks leading into comeback with questions about how she’s dealt with the loss from a year ago, Holm is more worried about how she’s going to bounce back from adversity of her own.
Since beating Rousey last November, Holm has dropped her last two fights including a submission defeat to Miesha Tate that cost her the women’s bantamweight title before falling in a lopsided decision to talented Muay Thai striker Valentina Shevchenko.
In fact while Rousey may be answering questions about her loss for the first time right now, Holm has moved past it and rarely thinks about that knockout anymore.
“When I think about this year, I think about my year and it’s been the worst year for me,” Holm said. “2016 was not successful for me. I don’t think about anybody else actually. This November everybody’s putting out on social media ‘oh my gosh it’s been a year, congratulations Holly’ and all I’m thinking is it’s been a year since I won.
“As much as that was a big night for me, I’m ready for my own time to shine again and I guess I really haven’t thought a lot about it.”