Holly Holm is on top of the world following her shockingly brutal knockout victory of the seemingly unbeatable Ronda Rousey, the now former UFC Bantamweight Champion.
The massive underdog entered Melbourne, Australia with -2000 odds against scoring a victory, according to For The Win.
That means if you had bet $100 on her to win, you would have won $900 yourself. Meanwhile, a $100 bet on the favorite (Rousey) would have netted you a cool $5.
It’s a good thing Holly Holm and Coach Mike Winkeljohn (pictured above) didn’t put any stock in the odds.
After a dominant first round in which Holm imposed her will, landing jabs, uppercuts, elbows, and even escaping Ronda’s vaunted takedown attempts, she finished Rousey off with a hard kick to the carotid artery and a series of punches that left the women’s MMA pioneer unconscious and then hospital-bound.
Rousey was so thoroughly beaten that she couldn’t even do a post-fight interview or the press conference to follow.
It’s easy to see a fighter dominated to that extent and automatically assume that their career is over. However, Holly Holm knows a thing or two about taking a loss, and on Saturday night (Nov. 14), she proved that win or lose, you can’t keep a good fighter down.
To understand the perseverance of Holly Holm, you first have to look beyond her 10 professional MMA fights.
Holm first entered a prizefighting ring in January 2002 at the age of 20. That fight — a boxing match — was successful, ending in a third round TKO over Martha Deitchman.
She would follow it with her professional kickboxing debut a few months later, another TKO victory, this time besting Valerie Anthonson in Round 2.
After adding a couple more boxing victories to her record, she met with her first taste of defeat, getting knocked out in the fourth round of a kickboxing match against Trisha Hill on April 6, 2003.
Holly Holm would only fight one more time in kickboxing, earning a TKO victory against Alisa Cantwell in August 2003.
Perhaps realizing that simultaneous careers in two combat sports wasn’t a great idea, she abandoned kickboxing after that and devoted most of her time and attention to boxing.
The strategy paid off with her logging seven victories in her first nine fights (the other two ended in draws).
Then, on her tenth fight, she met with Rita Turrisi and was TKO’d in the fourth round. Despite the setback, it wasn’t too demoralizing since her corner had stopped the fight due to a deep cut under her eye.
Holly Holm would continue logging victories after that and winning several championships in the process.
In her next 24 fights, she would fight to a draw one time and win 23. This set up a high-profile (for boxing) championship match between Holm and KO puncher Anne Sophie Mathis.
It did not go well.
Aside from one of the most bloodthirsty referees in the history of boxing allowing it to go on longer than it should have, Holly Holm was battered defenseless into the ropes shortly before the knockout blow.
Rather than stop the fight, the ref untangled her and threw her back to the wolf.
Shortly following, Mathis cold-cocked Holm, who fell lifelessly over the middle rope ending in as brutal and humiliating of a defeat as she dealt Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.
With losses like this, a fighter can go one of two ways, and Rousey would be wise to follow the lead of Holly Holm with how she bounces back.
Not only did Holm find her resolve, she stepped back into the ring with Mathis six months later in her very next fight and put on a boxing clinic.
Clearly, Holly Holm knows how to face adversity and that has made her perhaps the best UFC women’s champion to date.
Only time will tell if Ronda can follow in her footsteps.
[Image via Holly Holm/Facebook]