Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm can understand a fighter going into a bout as the underdog facing long odds against an unbeatable fighter. She’s been here before, and it turns out, she is back in this position.
Just a little over two years ago, Holm was given the chance to beat former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who was undefeated at the time, at UFC 193.
At this point in time, Rousey was one of the biggest superstars the sport had ever seen and was a big favorite over Holm.
That all changed when Holm stunned the world by scoring one of the most legendary upsets in the history of the sport by head kicking Rousey out cold to win the title.
Holm is now scheduled to challenge UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg at UFC 219.
“I think there are similarities with the feeling of it, and just knowing that people are having a little bit of doubt,” Holm said Thursday on a UFC 219 media conference call (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “But I think that because I’ve done this more than once now, in boxing and it’s probably even more seen with Ronda, to be the underdog and come in — I think that people think, ‘Oh, OK, well Holly is capable of doing some of [these] things,’ so I feel like there’s more of curiosity behind it. Not necessarily just thinking I can’t do it, but kind of, ‘Hmm, I wonder if she’s going to do it this time.’”
Cyborg has long been considered the best 145-pound female fighter in the world. Holm, on the other hand, is a relative newbie to 145 pounds.
“It’s a little different with my diet for this fight. I’m really not having to watch too much of portions or anything like that,” Holm said. “I’m eating healthy because I want to have energy for training, but it’s kind of that, I don’t have any stress as far as the weight.
I just get to focus on my training and have energy for training, so that’s a little bit different than for 135. I have to be a little more careful with things for 135, so it’s been nice to not have that stress for this training camp, because this is such a big fight, I was able to just kinda put more of my focus on everything else.”
“I did keep a little bit more weight on for this fight, but I didn’t want to keep bad weight on either and feel sluggish,” Holm said. “And yes, I was doing a lot of strength training between my last fight and this fight, but over the last couple weeks I kinda shut that down. I feel like I had built my strength between (fights), and right now, going to do a hard weight training session right now is not going to make me any stronger in one week.
“So I do feel stronger, but with the strength workouts, I’ve kinda tried to keep it based on explosive strength workouts. I don’t really want to just get more muscle that’s harder to carry around. Muscle needs oxygen, and the more muscle you have, sometimes it takes a little bit more to carry around. I still want to feel light on my feet. I still want to have speed.”
UFC 219 is set to take place on Saturday, December 30, 2017, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main card will air on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET while the preliminary card will air on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET and the promotion’s streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, at 7 p.m. ET.
“I know that a lot people have said, ‘Oh, you should take her in late rounds,’ and you know what, I know she’s not used to the later rounds. That’s just a fact,” Holm said. “But I still know that she trains really hard, and that doesn’t mean that she’s going to not want to be there. I know that she’s still going to be fighting hard all the way through.
I expect her to be there and be aggressive and in my face for the full 25 minutes. So I don’t sit here and just think, ‘Oh, if I make it through two rounds, I’m just good to go.’ I’m ready for five rounds of hard fight.”
“It’d be awesome,” Holm said. “I’ve always said I want to do something that nobody else has done, and one of my biggest things coming to MMA from boxing was to be able to hold world titles in both boxing and MMA, because no male or female had done that yet.
And here we are, I was able to do that. And here I am, up against another opponent. To be able to get multiple world titles in MMA after boxing would be huge. Nobody’s done that before, so it’s a dream of mine to accomplish that.”