Holly Holm won’t be the one fighting Ronda Rousey next. That pleasure will fall to the new champion. Holly Holm should have waited for a rematch. For such a calculating fighter in the octagon, why did she rush into another fight so soon? She didn’t need to fight at UFC 196, and now she won’t be back to prove her dominance over Ronda Rousey.
Holm explained to the Los Angeles Times why she was so anxious to fight after her championship victory and what she did wrong this time.
“Everyone before this fight was saying, ‘Why are you taking this fight? You should be going for the rematch.’ You know what, I’m in it to fight. Tonight, I made some mistakes. I’ll fix those mistakes and come back stronger. Miesha capitalized; she’s a scrapper. I let my guard down, and it cost me the fight. I wanted to take this challenge.”
Holly’s UFC 193 upset victory in Melbourne is precisely what led to her rushing into this match with Miesha Tate. After she defeated Holly Holm on extremely well-timed boxing punches and long reach kicks, she exposed a lot of flaws in Rousey’s game. But she should have also noticed her own flaws. She likely did not study and analyze Tate enough, thinking her a lesser opponent than Rousey. Crafty grapplers like Tate require a more intense hold escape plan than Holm was prepared for.
All three of these women have their specialties, and each tries to supplement her primary skill set with things that they may need to counter their opponent’s specialty. Holly Holm was a professional boxer, which she used to her advantage against Ronda Rousey’s judo grappling skills. Miesha Tate owes her tenacity on the floor to her wrestling background. But part of Holly Holm’s success comes through taking her boxing ring intelligence into the MMA arena. She can’t always be successful that way going forward. Everyone saw what happened to Rounda Rousey. Rematch or not, women’s MMA has taken notice and studied Holm’s style.
— UFC (@ufc) March 6, 2016
So instead of meeting the brutal fists of Holly Holm again, Ronda Rousey will now have to face Miesha Tate in hopes of taking back the bantamweight belt. But this is something both women are used to doing. The two have had a long rivalry in MMA, one which boosted the popularity of women’s matches in the first place. Ronda Rousey was thrust into the spotlight partially from her past performance against Tate.
Rousey has already defeated Tate twice. This puts her in a better position to take back the title. Holly Holm’s loss is more an indicator that all three of these fighters need to round out their skill set. Rousey’s loss to Holm was because she was in foreign territory against an expert boxer. But Miesha Tate is familiar territory. Both are grapplers. Both women are accustomed to fighting on the floor. Holm is more accustomed to staying off the floor with fighters who seek to take her there.
Holly Holm could take one of two directions in order to continue her MMA career and prove she can defeat all the women she could face who likely also specialize in grappling. She could either supplement her stand up game with more ground training, so she can wriggle out of any future potential chokeholds, or she can simply seek to perfect her striking strategy within an MMA context. She can further refine strike timing and counter punches and compound the surprise and shock she has been causing grapplers who still aren’t so used to defending against powerful standing strikes.
— HollywoodLife (@HollywoodLife) March 6, 2016
As The Guardian reports, Holly Holm’s loss came in the fifth round, after Miesha Tate managed to sneak in a chokehold from the rear. Holm then tried to flip Tate over her shoulders and off of her, but that move simply caused Tate to tighten her grip. But this isn’t the end of Holly Holm. Loss is a part of every great MMA fighter’s story.
[Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images]