Holly Holm is the next challenger for Ronda Rousey. The two will fight on November 15 at UFC 193 down in Australia. If the venue fills up, it’s going to set all kinds of attendence records for a UFC fight. For many other Rousey fights, such factoids might help sell a fight. This one needs no sales job.
It’s becoming standard to assume a Ronda Rousey opponent is there to get crushed. If not crushed, then the hapless fighter is there to lose by an arm bar submission. Tapping out seems to be their real contribution. If things get really out of hand, they might dislocate their elbow.
This fight has real intrigue, because Holly Holm has had a long and glorious career in the fight world. While she’s built an impressive enough 9-0 career in mixed martial arts, she also had an illustrious 38-fight boxing career. Holly Holm was the champion for years, and she fought in nearly 20 championship bouts. This is a champion going into the ring with Ronda Rousey, albeit in another sport. Since Ronda’s fighting a championship boxer, this might be the closest you ever see to a Rousey-Mayweather showdown.
Holly Holm Profile
Weight: 135 lbs
Holly Holm was born in Albuqueque, New Mexico in 1981. She graduated from Manzano High School in 2000, then spent a year at the University of Albuquerque. Growing up, she participated in a number of sports, including soccer, gymnastics, swimming, and diving. She eventually began to train in both boxing and kickboxing, though her path to the world of boxing was an indirect one.
In 2001, Holly Holm began taking aerobics from trainer Mike Winkeljohn. Winkeljohn also happened to be a kickboxing instructor. She began to train at the fighting style and, in the fall of 2001, competed in an International Kickboxing Federation tournament. She eventually went 6-0-2 in her amateur kickboxing career, and won a national title in the women’s welterweight division.
In June 2002, she fought for the first time as a professional kickboxer. She would go 2-1 with 2 knockouts in her short pro career in kickboxing. By that time, she was beginning to focus on a potential boxing career.
It was in the boxing ring where Holly Holm made her reputation. She would ultimately fight 38 times inside a boxing ring, amassing a 33-2-3 record. All but 3 of those bouts were in her hometown of Albuquerque. She eventually won several welterweight boxing titles. Many fans believed she was the best female welterweight boxer in the world, and some believe she was one of the best welterweights in boxing history.
She was chosen as the 2005 Fighter of the Year and 2006 Fighter of the Year by none other than Ring Magazine, which is the most respected boxing publication. In those years, she won 19 different title bouts.
Rivalry with Anne Sophie Mathis
Anne Sophie Mathis of France was considered a knockout artist in the female boxing world. In December 2011, she would challenge Holly Holm for the welterweight title. Mathis was a stronger fighter than Holm, and she administered a savage beating of the champion. She was knocked to the canvas twice, though the referee oddly did not count the first knockdown. Eventually, Holly Holm was knocked out in the 7th round.
On June 15, 2012, the two had a rematch. Holm challenged the champion for the WBF female, WBAN, and IBF female welterweight titles. This time, Holly Holm had learned her lessons, gotten stronger, and developed a strategy to win a unanimous decision over the Anne Sophie Mathis. Even then, Holly Holm was starting to eye other possibilities. In fact, she had already begun a career as a mixed martial artist.
Even before her first match with Mathis, Holly Holm had fought in a handful of MMA matches. She began in March of 2011, she made the debut as an MMA fighter. Before joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Holly Holm had mixed martial arts fights with Fresquez Productions, Bellator MMA, and Legacy Fighting Champion.
In events promoted by Lenny Fresquez, she defeated Christina Domke and Jan Finney. Two years later, she fought Angela Hayes for Fresquez Productios. In that same year (2013), Holm began fighting for Bellator MMA. She fought twice for the promotion, eventually defeating Katie Merrill and champion Cecilia Braekhus.
For the Legacy FC productions, she fought Allanna Jones, Nikki Knudsen, and Juliana Werner. The Juliana Werner fight was a championship match. Holm fought with a broken arm, yet won a decision from the champion.
Career Highlight – Brutal High Kick Knockout
If you want to see a highlight from this fighter’s MMA career, here’s a high kick knockout of Al-Lanna (Allanna) Jones. The kick comes at 9:10 or the clip. It’s a brutal KO, but then, anyone reading this page isn’t like to mind.
That should give you an idea of the danger Ronda Rousey is facing in November. It’s also an indication of the potential she showed Dana White, and why he came to an arrangement with her promotion to bring the talent to the UFC.
On July 10, 2014, Holly Holm signed a 5-fight contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. She still fights of Lenny Fresquez, but he has loaned her to the UFC for five fights, it is said.
Her first fight was against Raquel Pennington at UFC 184, which Holm won by split decision. In July 2015, Holly Holm fought Marion Renea at UFC Fight Night 71. This time, she won by a unamimous decision. Her second victory set up the defining fight of her career: the November 15 fight against Ronda Rousey.
“Ronda Rousey Is Beatable”
That quote might sounds like overconfidence or brashness on the part of the challenger, but Holly Holm’s full quote gives her opponent lots of respect, while leaving room for a major upset. It comes down to whether the 33-year old fighter has the skills to present Ronda Rousey with something she’s never seen before.
This YouTube video is an interview Holly Holm filmed recently with Ron Kruck of Inside MMA. It’s a quick 2-minute, 47-second profile, but it shows highlights of previous fights and a glimpse at the challenger’s personality.
Holly Holm strikes me as confident, but not arrogant or brash like one or two of the other fighters Rousey has fought lately. With some of the recent challenger’s, I got the idea they were either trying to convince themselves they could win with their outward confidence, or they would simply too arrogant to know any better. Holly Holm is a former champ who goes in respecting her opponent’s accomplishments, but knowing anyone can be beaten on any given night.
UFC 193 Odds: Rousey vs Holm
The odds for this fight have been all over the place, but the champion is a huge favorite. Most Las Vegas sportsbooks have the fight between 12-to-1 to 13-to-1 for Rousey, with 12.5-to-1 as a common line. Odd Shark has the fight at -1000 Rousey and +600 Holm.
Holly Holm Fights
- W – Non-Sanctioned – Christina Domke – Double Threat: 03/04/2011 – 3:59 of Round 2 (TKO: Injury)
- W – Jan Finney – Clash in the Cage: 09/09/2011 – 2:49 of Round 3 (TKO)
- W – Non-Sanctioned – Angela Hayes – Fresquez Productions: Havoc: 12/06/2011 – 3 Round Fight (Unanimous Decision)
- W – Katie Merrill – Bellator MMA: 02/28/2013 – 3:02 of Round 2 (TKO)
- W – Al-Lanna Jones – Legacy Fighting Championship 21: 07/19/2013 – 2:22 of Round 2 (KO)
- W – Nicole Knudson – Legacy Fighting Championship 24: 10/11/2013 – 1:18 of Round 2 (TKO)
- W – Juliana Werner – Legacy/Fresquez Promotions: 04/04/14 – 1:50 of Round 5 (TKO: Referee Stoppage)
- W – Raquel Pennington – UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano: 02/28/2015 – 3 Round Fight (Split Decision)
- W – Marion Reneau – UFC Fight Night 71: Duffee vs Mir: 07/15/2015 – 3 Round Fight (Unanimous Decision)
- TBD – Ronda Rousey – UFC 193: Rousey vs Holm: 11/14/2015 – ???
This completes the profile on Holly Holm. If she pulls off the biggest upset in women mixed martial arts history, I’m sure I’ll many more chapters to this page. I’ve got a feeling she is going to present a good challenge for Ronda Rousey and give the fans an entertaining clash of styles and a compelling championship match.