Holly Holm is having her first public disagreement with employer Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and from a fighter’s perspective, it’s hard to blame her.
The new Bantamweight Champion, who destroyed previously unbeaten Ronda Rousey in under six minutes at UFC 193, has no problem with fighting Ronda again, but she doesn’t want to wait until July to do it.
Given the nature of Rousey’s injuries, the earliest she can fight Rousey is at UFC 200, and that’s just where UFC President Dana White has demanded the rematch take place.
Unfortunately for Holly Holm, that means she has to sit on the proverbial shelf for eight months — by the time all is said and done — before she can fight again.
In mixed martial arts (MMA), eight months is a long time, and it’s a concern that Holm has basically expressed, at least through manager Lenny Fresquez.
Fresquez’ main complaint with the Ronda Rousey-Holly Holm rematch is that his fighter is “used to staying active.”
“We’re from the old school and we believe the No. 1 contender is there for a reason. … [Miesha Tate] deserves a shot, but it’s not for me to decide.”
That’s an idea with which Tate seemed to agree.
— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) December 7, 2015
White was unconvinced, delivering what the Times called a “sarcastic” response.
“We’re real concerned with his [Fresquez] opinion,” White said.
The loss for Ronda seems to be one that White is taking personally. He freely admits that he talks to Ronda often and that she is “one of my very close friends.”
He also seems to think that the rematch could go much differently, calling Ronda “the fiercest competitor I have ever met in my life” and predicting that she will “overcome it [the loss] and be back.”
“She got clipped, stayed in there and tried to fight through it. She told me she was in there, she was rocked, and she’d never been rocked like that before. And the things that were going on in her head — what she was doing — she’d never been in that situation.”
MMA is a sport where unbeaten fighters generally have a short life expectancy. In other words, everyone loses at some point, and what makes them great is how they come back.
Though she remains unbeaten in MMA, Holly Holm has had her share of losses in the world of boxing. She was once decimated by French fighter Anne Sophie Mathis in round 7 of their first title bout.
However, Holm came back in her very next fight and handed Mathis a return loss.
Rousey appears to want that same opportunity, and while Holm is happy to give it to her, there does seem to be concern that the extended break with no fight in between will lead to ring rust.
Tate, as of late, has been on a winning streak with four consecutive victories over Liz Carmouche (who gave Rousey trouble before getting arm-barred in round 1), Rin Nakai, Sara McMann, and Jessica Eye.
A fight between Tate and Holly Holm would be a more disciplined affair as Tate and Holm are fighters who like to take their time and see what’s there before moving in on an opponent.
Rousey had developed a well-earned reputation as a quick finisher, and that ultimately worked against her with Holm.
A more sensible course — and perhaps a richer one for UFC — might be to have Rousey fight a comeback bout at UFC 200 and have Holm and Tate square off prior-to, then coming back with the rematch at a later date.
However, White likely doesn’t want to chance one of the two women losing before selling the rematch.
What do you think about his decision to put Holly Holm on the shelf until July? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Holly Holm Facebook]