When Holly Holm upset UFC champion Ronda Rousey on Sunday, it was not due to luck, magic, or pure coincidence.
Holly spent days practicing until she could not bring herself to throw another punch. All of her practice paid off as everything she used in the gym came to aid her in the ring. Holm even made it out of one of Rousey’s famous holds.
Rather than fighting fire with fire, Holly Holm returned to a classic boxing stance. She planted more than a few secure punches to leave Rousey’s mouth bloodied and beaten.
She then channeled her inner kickboxer and landed a left kick perfectly on the right of her opponents head. The kick rendered Rousey unconscious and it let to one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
While the organization and fans thought the match was shocking, it was not a surprise that Holly Holm was able to knock her out. In 2005, she defeated Christy Martin and Mia St. John. She also took back a big match in 2011 against Anne Sophie Mathis.
According to her coach, this defeat was part of a bigger plan to pick about Rousey’s fight and work on ways to defeat her play-by-play. After several years of practice, commitment and dedication, all of that planning paid off. For Holly and those around her, this was not an upset but her time to shine. She did not just upset Rousey, she earned the win.
Holm had plenty of things working for her and against her. The pressure that comes with fighting such a top-level fighter is immense. Few people in the crowd, in the organization, or even in the world believed that Holly Holm would walk away with anything other than injury.
Rousey was also aggressive towards Holm in the lead up to the match. Rousey posted a photo on Instagram taunting Holm with a caption that said, “Preacher’s daughter my ass – I see through your fake sweet act now – you’re getting your ass kicked tomorrow, and I’m really going to enjoy the beating I give you #andSTILL.”
Rousey also acted aggressively towards Holm at the weigh in.
But there were plenty of distractions on Rousey’s side, too. There has been recent criticism of her boxing trainer. There has also been recent rumors of a relationship with a fellow UFC fighter. Then, there are the questions surrounding the fight with her ex-boyfriend as described in her book.
But Holm came with a game plan and was not leaving without a trophy. She told reporters that despite how much she trained, she knew that everything that would help her win would come in the moment. She also maintains her respect for Rousey. Holm credits Rousey for bringing the sport to the level that it is today. For that reason, the win meant even more to her.
But that doesn’t mean that Holly isn’t ready to gloat. She told reporters that she wants to enjoy every last drop of her victory because she earned it. But she doesn’t wish anything negative for Rousey. She has respect for her defeated opponent and would prefer that other people showed the same.
Holm is not the only one to stand up for Rousey despite her defeat. Floyd Mayweather, who is no stranger to controversy, expressed sympathy for her. Mayweather disagrees with how people are treating the fighting legend online. He understands what it is like for the public to turn on him overnight.
But like Holly Holm, Rousey is a strong woman and a strong fighter. She may be down for the count now but MMA fans can be sure that she will be back.
[Photo By Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Sport]