Holly Holm doesn’t want her career defined by a win over Ronda Rousey
Holly Holm will never forget the moment that changed her life.
It was the night that Holm rocketed a kick that bludgeoned Ronda Rousey in the head and sent the seemingly invincible UFC women’s champion crashing to the ground like a tree toppled over in the forest.
As soon as Rousey’s body smacked the canvas, Holm rejoiced in celebration and her career was forever etched in history as the first person to defeat arguably the greatest women’s fighter to compete in mixed martial arts to date.
Unfortunately, Holm’s success in the fight with Rousey hasn’t been duplicated as she’s dropped her last two bouts in a row including her first title defense against Miesha Tate last March.
Now Holm makes her return at UFC 208 with a chance to become the first ever women’s featherweight champion but the fight means more than just an opportunity to add another title to her resume.
It’s a chance to move past the worst year of her career.
“There’s a lot of pressure. What is Holly going to do now at 145 coming off two losses? She’s never been here before. She’s coming off the highlight of her career (against Ronda Rousey) to two losses in a row,” Holm said when speaking to FOX Sports. “The most unsuccessful year of my entire fighting career.
“There’s this anticipation and curiosity and that’s OK with me. My thought process is just keeping it focused on good. It is pressure. I want to use it as good motivation. Use it as motivation that will make me train hard and get ready.”
In the lead up to her fight against Germaine De Randamie on Saturday night in Brooklyn, Holm has been bombarded with as many questions about Rousey as she has about her own title bout.
Rousey recently suffered her second straight loss when she fell to current women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in just 48 seconds at UFC 207. In the weeks since that loss, Rousey has been teetering between fighting again or possibly retiring, which has led to Holm giving her insight on what she expects to happen to the woman she defeated to become a household name in the UFC.
Holm has been cordial enough to give her opinion after toppling Rousey last year, which may have been the catalyst to lead to her recent struggles and perhaps the end of her career.
“Who knows if Ronda’s done or not,” Holm said. “Maybe she’ll come back in the future. Maybe she just needs a little time to really take time off. I know she had a year off but it was a year off and back into a title fight. I don’t know how much she changed in there with training. I don’t know.
“I think any fighter they can only know for themselves what they really feel, but I guess I don’t really feel like I broke her, but I do know that coming off of the knockout, when I knocked her out, that helped the fight with Nunes go faster if that makes any sense. I don’t mean that in any rude way.”
As much as Holm is willing to answer inquiries about Rousey’s future, she hopes with a victory on Saturday night and a second UFC title that she will begin to move past that constant focal point that always comes up when talking about her biggest accomplishment in MMA.
Holm will always appreciate what the win over Rousey did for her career, but the last thing she wants is to go down as a one-hit wonder in UFC history.
“I don’t want my whole career to be defined around getting the belt from Ronda,” Holm said. “I want my career to be defined by me being the best fighter I can be and accomplishing the biggest things I can, from whatever competition comes in front of me.
“So I want this for me for my career. I don’t want it to just be around the one fight. I want them to remember everything after. I want to be able to do a lot in this career still.”
A win at UFC 208 would make Holm the first ever two division champion in UFC history and that would go a long way towards her goal to move past the win over Rousey as she moves forward in her career.
“Who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t want to have the chance to make history and it give that extra motivation for it,” Holm said. “It’s one of those things, how can you not get excited preparing for something like that? That you can make history.
“It’s the first belt at that weight and the chance to fight for a second belt in the UFC after coming from boxing. It motivates me for sure.”