Holly Holm’s first title defense did not go as planned Saturday night.
The Albuquerque native was choked out by Miesha Tate in the fifth round of the co-main event at UFC 196, ending her brief reign as champion just over six months after she took the belt from Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.
After the fight, an ever-humble Holm said all the right things while reflecting on the fight and her readiness to get back into the Octagon, but she also admitted that losing the belt was a tough pill to swallow.
"I feel fine …" Holm responded when asked how she was feeling afterwards by FOX Sports’ Ariel Helwani. "My, ya know, heart hurts."
Holm started fast, landing combinations while using kicks to keep Tate at a distance and nullify the takedown. In the second round, however, Tate was able to get the fight to the ground and almost put the former champ away then.
"The Preacher’s Daughter" bounced back in the third and fourth rounds and looked to have it won in the fifth before a resilient Tate capitalized on a late mistake by Holm.
"I felt I had rounds 1, 3, 4 and even 5. I know she had the takedown, she was on top of me — round 5, she got the choke.
"I gotta go back to the drawing board and get better, ya know?" Holm said. "I know my whole career has been on the fast track but I believe that I belong here for a reason and I need to keep improving."
Despite the loss, Holm isn’t looking to take any time away from the Octagon and is already eager for the next opportunity to wash away the taste of defeat.
"Let’s just get in there. Let’s get in there and get it back." Holm said.
Holm will undoubtedly take the next few days to rest and clear her head as she waits to hear what the UFC has in store for a women’s bantamweight division that is now more exciting than ever.