Holly Holm lost the featherweight title bout at UFC 208 via unanimous decision Saturday night. Holm was taking on Germaine de Randamie, a Dutch kickboxer, for the first ever UFC featherweight title match, and Holly was hoping the fight would help her prove she was more than a one hit wonder. The judges, unfortunately, didn’t see it that way.
Holm spent much of the time in the clinch with de Randamie, attempting multiple takedowns with no success. Holly also seemed to be relying heavily on kicks to take on Germaine which seemed to be an odd strategy for Holm who held several welterweight boxing titles before transitioning to MMA.
Holm’s loss at UFC 208, however, might have been helped along by two late strikes by de Randamie. In both rounds two and three, Germaine struck Holly with a stiff right hand after the bell. The second round late hit appeared to rock Holm, though she was able to make it back to her corner unassisted. The third round late hit earned de Randamie a warning from the referee that any other questionable punches would result in a point deduction. Twitter erupted in anger, coming to Holm’s defense.
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) February 12, 2017
#UFC208…You can’t be a champion of a sport if you don’t know what it means when the bell goes off
— Will Rodgers (@WilliamRodgers) February 12, 2017
The UFC even received an admonishment from current UFC women’s strawweight title holder Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
I don’t agree with that decision at all, Holly Holm should of won that match. Points should of been taken away from De Randamie. #ufc208
— Joanna Jędrzejczyk (@JJoannaChampion) February 12, 2017
Holm stated in the post-fight press conference that she felt the late hits were on purpose and that she had won the last three rounds but the judges may have given de Randamie more favor because of the late hits.
— Bryan Fonseca (@BryanFonsecaNY) February 12, 2017
Germaine reportedly didn’t show up for the press conference because she was taken to the hospital following the bout.
According to the Los Angeles Times, all judges scored the fight 48-47 in favor of de Randamie, meaning even if the point had been deducted, the best Holm could’ve done was pull out a draw.
Holly Holm burst into the UFC in 2015 with two wins. Suddenly for her third bout, she found herself facing the most dominant female fighter in UFC history for the bantamweight title, Ronda Rousey. Rousey was the heavy favorite going into the fight with a record of 12-0 and a penchant for taking out opponents quickly. Holly Holm, however, came into the octagon throwing the kick heard round the world, stopping the unstoppable Rousey in the second round and taking the belt.
The world was stunned by Holm’s victory and many anticipated her next fight would be a rematch against Ronda to give her the opportunity to take the belt back. But with the combination of Ronda Rousey needing significant time to recover from their last match-up and Holly Holm’s competitive spirit, Holm found herself in her first title defense against veteran MMA fighter Miesha Tate.
Holly Holm dominated Tate for the entirety of the first four and a half rounds and seemed to be on her way to being a two-time champion when she made a rookie mistake that Tate capitalized on, catching Holm in a rear naked choke and stealing her glory.
Rather than letting ring rust settle in, Holly Holm took another opportunity to make her way back up the UFC ladder by taking on Valentina Shevchenko. While many expected Holm to dominate, she found herself on the losing end of a five-round unanimous decision. The UFC bantamweight title again changed hands when Miesha Tate lost to Amanda Nunes in her first title defense. Nunes would then go on to crush Ronda Rousey.
As the bantamweight division began to fill up with talent, UFC president Dana White saw an opportunity to bring in a new group of female fighters by creating the featherweight division. He already had Strikeforce Featherweight Champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino signed up but Justino quickly blew through two opponents that were willing to take her on in catchweight fights. Unfortunately for White, Justino’s last fight had her getting caught for a potentially banned substance violation. Enter Holly Holm.
Ever the competitor, according to ESPN, Holly Holm’s coach Mike Winkeljohn said Holly wanted the chance to have a belt in two weight divisions.
“She wants both of them. She’s doing [this fight] because this is where we’re at, but she wants the 135-pound title back. She wants it all,” Winkeljohn said of Holm’s motivation.
Now with three straight losses, however, some have to wonder if Holly Holm’s UFC career is done. If the choice is up to her, the answer is no.
According to an interview with Fox Sports, Holly said if nothing else, she doesn’t want her UFC career to be defined by being the one hit wonder who took down Ronda Rousey.
“I don’t want my whole career to be defined around getting the belt from Ronda. I want my career to be defined by me being the best fighter I can be and accomplishing the biggest things I can, from whatever competition comes in front of me,” Holm said. “So I want this for me for my career. I don’t want it to just be around the one fight. I want them to remember everything after. I want to be able to do a lot in this career still.”
Hopefully Dana White and the UFC believe Holly Holm still has the potential.
[Featured Image by Anthony Geathers/Getty Images.]