Holly Holm experienced the best moment of her MMA career last November, when she knocked Ronda Rousey unconscious with a second-round head kick to claim the UFC women’s bantamweight title.
It was one of the most talked about fights of the year, and it made Holm a household name after pulling off one of the biggest recorded upsets in UFC history.
As she prepares to face Miesha Tate at UFC 196 on March 5, Holm is determined to defend the title while also proving that what she did to Rousey wasn’t a lucky shot.
"I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder is probably the thing I’ve been saying about that," Holm told FOX Sports on Monday during a media luncheon in Los Angeles. "I don’t want it to be this one performance. I want to show people that I’m here for a reason and for me, I want to keep going, I want to keep getting better, I want to keep learning."
I don’t want to be a one hit wonder is probably the thing I’ve been saying about that. I don’t want it to be this one performance.
— Holly Holm
"Trust me, the last fight was one of the best moments of my life, but I don’t want my whole career to be defined by one fight. I don’t want my whole life to be focused on that."
Holm certainly enjoyed the moment and she took plenty of time to revel in the victory, but until Rousey returns for the rematch, she’s putting the former champion in the rearview mirror.
The only thing Holm is thinking about right now is beating Tate next weekend and defending her UFC title for the first time. As much as the Rousey win will always be a highlight on her resume, Holm definitely doesn’t want that to be the only one.
"There’s a fight ahead of me now. I don’t even feel like I have the belt," Holm said. "I feel like I’m still going in to prove something and to fight for it because I want to stay hungry."
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Holm enjoyed playing the underdog against Rousey because it allowed her to just stay relaxed and determined to fight her fight with nothing to prove. This time, Holm is a heavy favorite versus Tate. While there are certainly expectations that come along with that, the pressure for this fight is really no different than any other she’s faced during her career.
"I feel like every fight has that pressure," Holm said. "My entire career if it’s somebody that you’re supposed to beat, well there’s pressure, because then it’s almost like a no win situation.
"If it’s somebody that’s supposed to beat you, well then you have to kind of dig deep and have your own mental game behind it. There’s always a pressure."
Holm is no stranger to these kinds of feelings ahead of a fight.
Unlike most competitors debuting in the UFC, Holm had a ton of eyes on her first fight. But she never tried to prove anything because no matter how dominant she was or how decisive the victory, there were always going to be naysayers.
It’s the same thing going into this matchup against Tate because after knocking out Rousey, the expectations are higher than ever to not only duplicate that performance but somehow top it.
Thankfully, Holm has felt the weight of those expectations before, and she’s more than ready to deal with them again.
"My first UFC fight, the debut, was this big anticipated thing and all this hype behind it and I knew I wouldn’t live up to," Holm said. "It’s like when you talk about a movie that’s so great and then you watch it, it’s not so good but when it’s kind of got good ratings but you really haven’t heard people talk about it, you’ll watch like wow, that was awesome.
"I feel like to live up to the hype of the debut was, I don’t think I could have even done that. Then after that it’s like, ‘Well her first fight’s out of the way, the Octagon jitters are out of the way so now what are we going to see?’ Now it’s Ronda — so is she even ready? Then after Ronda it’s like now after that knockout, what more is she going to show? After every fight, every fight has its own pressure. So there’s a lot of pressure behind this."