In November of 2015, a largely unheralded Holly Holm shocked the world by clubbing the seemingly unbeatable Ronda Rousey with a second-round head-kick. This massive upset win immediately changed the landscape of the women’s bantamweight division, and really, the landscape of the sport of MMA as a whole.
Since this career-changing knockout of Rousey, however, Holm has embarked on an unfortunate two fight losing-streak, first succumbing to a fifth-round rear-naked choke dealt by Miesha Tate, then giving up a decision to top contender Valentina Shevchenko.
Given this skid, she faces mountainous pressure heading into her looming UFC 208 main event bout with Germaine De Randamie, which will crown the UFC’s first ever women’s featherweight champion. If she wins, she’s right back on track with gold around her waist. If she loses, she risks becoming “that fighter that beat Ronda Rousey that one time.”
Holm weighed in on the shaky state of her career in a recent interview with FOX Sports.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” she said. “What is Holly going to do now at 145 coming off two losses? She’s never been here before. She’s coming off the highlight of her career [against Ronda Rousey] to two losses in a row.”
“There’s this anticipation and curiosity and that’s OK with me,” she continued. “My thought process is just keeping it focused on good. It is pressure. I want to use it as good motivation. Use it as motivation that will make me train hard and get ready.”
“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.”
“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.”
Do you think Holly Holm can win her second UFC title this Saturday? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/7/2017.