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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

I don’t want my career to be defined by beating Ronda Rousey, says Holly Holm ahead of Singapore Fight Night

It was the biggest win of her MMA career, but the 35-year-old doesn’t want that to be her legacy and says the best is still to come

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 April, 2017, 11:52am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 April, 2017, 9:06pm

Holly Holm will forever be known as the woman who dethroned Ronda Rousey, that flying left foot back in 2015 shaking up the world of mixed martial arts just as much as it did the fighter who until that moment had been the undisputed queen of the UFC.

Holm wants her story to be about so much more than that one victory but it’s a topic that’s impossible for the 35-year-old American to escape, and so it was again early on Thursday morning.

A conference call was designed to help push the UFC’s Fight Night card in Singapore on June 17 – which Holm is headlining. But with UFC boss Dana White just hours before claiming he thought Rousey was done, Holm was called on to have her say on the matter, too.

Holm said she hoped it wasn’t the end of the line for the woman who helped so much to drive MMA’s crossover into the mainstream sports market – but the decision on whether or not Rousey should return to the cage had to come from within.

“You have to have your heart in it. If she has the desire she should do it,” said Holm. “If she has any desire in her then she should do it. She should learn from the losses – and move forward. I hope she’s not fighting [just] because of the two losses. If she wanted to come to back then she should, and just learn from her mistakes. [But] I don’t want to watch a fighter fight if she doesn’t want to be in there.”

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Holm’s own career might have stumbled somewhat since she beat Rousey to claim the UFC’s bantamweight title – she’s had three straight losses since that heady night in Melbourne to take her mark to 10-3 – but Holm has vowed to add to her own legacy in the sport when she headlines the Singapore card.

It’ll be a first trip to Asia for the woman known as The Preacher’s Daughter and she’s excited by the prospect both of her bout against Bethe Correia (10-2-1) and about the growth of the sport in the region.

The UFC has packed the card with talent from the region, as well as stars of Holm’s stature including former heavyweight champ Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (25-14-0, 1NC) as the organisation looks to expand into the market after not hosting an event in the region since November 2015.

“I’m just proud to be part of it and I just hope it will be one of many,” Holm said. “The sport keeps growing and the girls keep getting better. But I still know I am still capable of beating all the girls out there, but everything has to be done just right as the girls are so good.

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“I feel good. We’ve got two months ahead of us but I’d been training before I knew about the fight. I’m just trying to be a better fighter.”

Holm will be returning to the bantamweight division to fight Correia. After losing the title to Miesha Taite, and then a loss to Valentina Shevchenko,

Holm moved to featherweight but lost her title bout with Germaine de Randamie.

Tate’s win was by technical submission but the other two decisions against Holm were unanimous points nods, despite the veteran showing flashes of the form that had her record spotless before she met Rousey. It’s a sport that teaches harsh lessons, and Holm says it’s time to make good on what she learned from her mistakes.

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“I’ve not really shown the best of me,” she said. “But I don’t want to stop now, I want to keep moving forward. Life is crazy, it takes you to new places and new adventures. Even after the win against Ronda I told everybody I don’t want my career to be defined by one fight. I want to fight the best in the world. I’ve not had the best run, but I didn’t get fully dominated. The losses are on my record. Close fights but tough fights. I know deep down I have the ability and I don’t want to stop on that point. I’m hungry – I always am. And there’s no option to lose.”