Seven months ago, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (10-1), was just Holly Holm. Another name on the short list of opponent’s for UFC poster-fighter and then current champion, Ronda Rousey. It was in November at UFC 193 that Holm shocked the mixed martial arts community with the kick heard round the world, knocking out Ronda Rousey in the second round, something that no one expected happening. The belt around her waist and her undefeated record came to a crashing halt last March at UFC 196. The UFC granted Miesha Tate the title fight with Holm that night and in a back and forth dog fight, Tate was able to secure a last minute rear naked choke on Holm, the second one of the night for Tate, choking Holm unconscious.
“I really had to deal with the loss and make it real and not pretend like nothing happened,” said Holm after returning to the gym just a day after the loss. “Tears were coming down as I kept replaying everything that went wrong. That’s the only way to get better.”
Her journey back to the title will begin on July 23rd in Chicago, IL at UFC on Fox where she will face #7 ranked Valentina Shevchenko (12-2) in the main event of the night. “I love Chicago and I’m excited to fight there,” said Holm. “Maybe if we have time we’ll make it to a baseball game or something.” And when asked about if she was surprised about the matchmaking with Valentina and not getting a rematch at UFC 200, her answer was direct and to the point.
“I would love to have a rematch at some point and hopefully the UFC gives me the chance to get the belt back,” said Holm. “But as soon as they (UFC) call and say this is it and we are going it’s like, ‘Ok, full speed ahead. Let’s go with it’.”
Holm has been a longtime member of Jackson’s Martial Arts & Fitness Academy in Albuquerque in New Mexico where she is from. That is also where current UFC interim light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones trains and the two are very close. And there was some speculation that some of the reason Holm lost was because of the distraction of things going on in Jones’ life. “He never takes what he is going through and burdens it to anyone else,” explained Holm. “Jon is always really supportive and his energy and vibe is always positive in the gym. I like knowing in our gym we are surrounded by greatness and it’s not just him as a fighter.”
As Jones will get his opportunity to get his title back at UFC 200 in Las Vegas, Holm starts her climb back to the top in the Windy City just a few weeks later. And regardless of what happens that night in that fight, Holm is the type of fighter that just wants to leave an impression on all those that watch her in the octagon. ““I hope they see skill and I hope they see passion,” said Holm. “I hope they see something different and I hope they see something inspiring because that’s what keeps me motivated to keep getting better so I can perform those things when the time comes in the night of the fight.”
Holly Holm will face Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Holm vs Shevchenko on July 23rd live from the United Center in Chicago, IL. 8pm ET/5pm PT.
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