Holly Holm has been gracious in victory after knocking out Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 last month, but she holds no ill will towards the former champion, who still hasn’t really acknowledged her performance or even congratulated her on the victory.
Holm isn’t too concerned whether Rousey was humbled in defeat or if she never hears a congratulations on her performance. Holm knows losing a fight is a very personal thing and everybody handles it in their own way and Rousey is no different.
"No, because I think if somebody doesn’t want to say it or it’s obviously affected her in a different way. She hasn’t really reacted this way to a fight before and so I know it’s just a lot of emotion," Holm told FOX Sports last Saturday ahead of UFC 194. "It’s really nothing on me. I don’t want to lose any sleep over it, lose any energy over it."
There is a part of Holm that understands exactly what Rousey is going through right now and that is probably why the former champion hasn’t exactly been forthcoming since the loss.
Holm experienced the brutality of defeat during her boxing career and no matter how much everybody in the world wants you to feel a certain way after a loss, she knows it’s actually a lot worse than you can possible describe in words.
She hasn’t really reacted this way to a fight before and so I know it’s just a lot of emotion. It’s really nothing on me.
— Holly Holm
And that’s probably what Rousey is feeling.
"I wouldn’t change anything about the fight, that’s what I go in there to do. I want to win. I hate to lose and I want the victory. I want the knockout. Who doesn’t want the knockout? That’s the ultimate victory. But when the fight is over and the decision is done, there’s always this little bit of compassion because when you’re a fighter you know what it’s like to lose," Holm said.
"There was a little bit of compassion. When I got knocked out, somebody came up to me and said ‘don’t be so down, it’s not the end of the world’ and I was like ‘that’s exactly what it feels like, the end of the world’. You put your heart and soul into it. Everything mental, emotional, you put everything into it. It is a very sad place to be and I’ve been there. So there’s a little bit of compassion for that."
Rousey may not be ready to give Holm credit for her performance just yet, but she has started to talk about the rematch that’s been proposed for UFC 200 next July.
Rousey has already committed to two movie projects that were set up prior to the first fight with Holm and then she hopes to return to the gym and get ready for a rematch next year. The former champion has also stated that if she falls to Holm a second time that she will likely call it a career and retire from the sport.
Holm tries to never put that kind of pressure on herself for any fight, but she says if that’s what Rousey needs to do to get ready for their rematch, more power to her.
"Everybody has their own mental way. Their own mental game," Holm said. "If that’s the way she needs to feel to feel ready for this. Maybe she needs to feel like it’s this or nothing in order to completely dive into it and dive into training. I don’t know, whatever she feels."
For her part, Holm won’t approach the rematch with Rousey thinking that she needs to somehow top her last performance in the Octagon. She’d rather just look at the second fight with Rousey as a new puzzle to solve and nothing that happened before really matters.
It’s that kind of mindset that’s served Holm so well during her entire career and she’s not going to change that before facing Rousey a second time.
"Every fighter has their own mental game. For me I know mine is just let’s stay focused, let’s just work hard and get ready for the fight," Holm said. "For this fight, a lot of people were thinking this is a really big thing for you, a lot of people think it’s too early, it’s the biggest venue, the pay-per-view numbers were pretty much just outrageous and it’s like ‘how do you feel about that?’ and I just really try to picture if I had this person across from me in practice it doesn’t seem so big. So I try to take the cameras and the lights out of it and just focus on the fighter in front of me and not really pay attention.
"It’s still just her and I so I like to keep a more grounded feel about it. Just be in the one fight in front of me."