Holly Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in front of a record crowd at UFC 193 to win the UFC women’s bantamweight title, setting up what many assumed would be the biggest rematch in UFC history.
But Rousey, who suffered a brutal knockout in the loss, opted to take some time off to work on her budding movie career. Instead of waiting for Rousey’s return — which first was speculated for UFC 200 in July before then getting bumped back to November — Holm decided to accept a fight against former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate.
Holm would go on to lose the belt to Tate just five months after she won it, in a fight that she was winning … until she wasn’t. But despite the outcome of her first title defense, Holm says that she doesn’t regret a thing.
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"I 100 percent stand by my decision because we are still waiting for Ronda to come back," Holm told the media in Los Angeles earlier this week. "So, that was my point. I told them, I will wait for the rematch with Ronda as long as we can promise it will be by a certain time, and if not …"
Rousey was supposed to be use her time away not only to recover but to shoot a few movies she’s scheduled to appear in. However, very little progress has been reported on those projects and Dana White has said that Rousey could return as late as early 2017.
Even if Rousey were to return in November, Holm would have been sidelined for over a year if she waited for the rematch. And the former boxing champion couldn’t imagine being inactive for that long.
"The best way I’ve been trying to explain it is, OK, technically I’d still have the title right now but what would I be doing with it? Just polishing it sitting on the wall?" Holm said. "What would be my goal? I’m in this sport because I like to fight, I’m in this because of passion. I wanted to fight, I didn’t want to just hold on to (the belt). OK, I could have said I held the belt longer, but for what? Just to sit around. I wanted to fight and I wanted to test myself. Did it end up in a loss? Yes. But it’s not because I didn’t take the fight with Ronda, it’s because I didn’t perform well when I fought Miesha.
"I don’t think a whole division should be based around one fighter, one fight, one moment. I don’t want my career based around one fighter — it’s my career, too. I want to keep pushing forward with it and doing well with it. I don’t want it to be based on the fact that I waited around for one fighter. Then what is that for me? So my (career) is second best? No. I want to fight for myself and my career, not wait for someone else."
Holm, four months after her loss to Tate, is scheduled to take on Valentina Shevchenko on Saturday at UFC on FOX in Chicago, and if she can walk away victorious she’ll be right back at the forefront of the women’s bantamweight title picture.
And with Rousey’s comeback timeline sketchy, at best, Holm could potentially win the title back before "Rowdy" returns.