When Holly Holm signed with the UFC in 2014, it was with much fanfare. Holm, a decorated boxer, a world Champion in three weight divisions and was unbeaten in MMA at the time. She held a 7-0 record and a huge fight with Ronda Rousey was already being mooted.
Holm made her UFC debut in early 2015, and got a win by way of a split decision Raquel Pennington. It might have been first-night nerves but Holm didn’t really excite or impress many, although in hindsight the win looks a lot better now. Holm looked a lot better when she won a clear decision over Marion Reneau but still didn’t look any threat to Rousey.
A fight with Rousey was scheduled for late 2015, and few gave Holm much of a chance. However, she shocked the MMA world when she systematically took apart Rousey, before finishing the unbeaten champion with a vicious head-kick in round two to win the UFC women’s bantamweight title.
To her credit rather than wait for a lucrative rematch with Rousey, Holm chose to defend her belt against Miesha Tate. Holm looked on her way to a comfortable win on points until Tate dragged her to the floor and put her to sleep; all the plans for the Rousey rematch went up in smoke.
Holm lost her next two fights before defeating Beth Correia and earning her second chance at the women’s featherweight title, this time against the feared and heavily favoured Cris Cyborg. Despite the odds, Holm took Cyborg the full five rounds and lost a close decision, too close on my card.
Less so with the Cyborg fight, but her losses to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie to me were frustrating, if she had done a little more, she could have won both fights.
Since beating Rousey, Holm has gone 1-4 in the UFC, so has her career now peaked?
I think its fair to say Holm is not a featherweight, so a return to bantamweight is probable. She is currently ranked number two. Holm still has the name, and a weak division will help her, so a couple of wins could earn her a shot at Amanda Nunes sometime in 2018.
Holm will always have the Rousey fight on her resume, but she hasn’t really achieved what was expected, especially after her career high win. Holm will likely get one more chance, but at 36, Holm is probably at the last chance saloon.
James ‘Buster’ Douglas upset Mike Tyson all those years ago in Tokyo but did little else after. Hopefully, Holm will not be remembered in a similar manner.