Holly Holm has a different kind of feeling heading into her next fight.
Facing contender after contender in the women’s bantamweight division, the former champion gets a new challenge in Kayla Harrison at UFC 300. Harrison, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and PFL Champion, will be making her bantamweight debut on Apr. 13.
Holm’s Initial Reaction To The Booking
Here’s how Holm took to the news that she’d be fighting Harrison.
“We kept asking them when I was gonna be able to get a fight and it’s kind of been just pressing,” Holm said on The MMA Hour. “They’re like, we got something we think we’re gonna work, but just we’ll let you know soon. It just kept going. I didn’t think Kayla Harrison at all. I kept seeing every all the other girls getting booked. I’m thinking, ‘well, are they just gonna leave me sitting for a while? Like, what am I gonna get?’ I just try to be patient and just wait to see what they had. And randomly my manager, Lenny, he’s like, I mean, could be something big. Either that or it could be Kayla Harrison. She could be coming over.”
“I kinda thought, I don’t know because I hadn’t really seen anything. There’s even like recent pictures over with PFL stuff on. I thought, is she gonna stay there? And especially, like [her going down] 135. But, I’m always open to anything. When they called, they said it was Kayla Harrison, and they announced it that day. So, it was definitely like new news for me, and I was super excited about it. I’m excited for this fight, really excited for this fight.”
‘There’s Just A Different Feeling’ Being The Underdog
What exactly gets Holm up in the morning for this fight? Well, with one look at the betting odds and you’d know that the former champ is currently a +340 underdog against the -410 favorite Harrison (via BetOnline.AG). It’s no disrespect for Holm, who uses it as more motivation to get the upset.
“It’s just being like such an underdog gets you— there’s just a different feeling with it, you know?” Holm continued. “That’s just kind of how I feel about this fight. It’s kind of intrigued me. It’s a different fight. Maybe because it’s also not anybody that has been in the UFC because your mind’s like, on all these other people. So when this came in, it’s just a a new journey, a new page, a new fighter to really think about. This could be one of the most epic fights in history.
“I don’t ever see any disrespect with anything. I think that’s just how sports go. It doesn’t bother me. That’s not how I feel about myself, and that’s what matters at the end of the day. I know that I am capable of winning this fight. I know that I have what it takes. And, yes, it’s gonna be a lot of hard work. It’s gonna be probably a pretty intense emotional fight camp and all that, uh, because you put your heart and soul into it, but that’s alright. That’s why we do that.”
Will Kayla Harrison Make Weight?
The big question mark on Holm vs. Harrison is the bantamweight limit. Harrison will have to weigh in at 136lb or less if she wants to fight Holm. In her pro career, Harrison has never weighed less than 145lbs. While there may be some doubt, ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ believes that her opponent will ultimately be a ‘professional’ when it comes to her big weight cut.
“I don’t really know what she walks around at, how much water she drops. I don’t know all those details, but for me, it’s like if somebody was to tell me I gotta go to 125… I couldn’t make 125. So, yeah, that is a concern. But I feel like she’s a professional, and she’s not just been in MMA, but obviously, other professional sports and her judo and everything. So, I give that confidence in her that she’s gonna make weight.”
Potential Title Eliminator
At 42 years old, Holly Holm isn’t giving up her dream of becoming a UFC Champion once again – especially now that her former foe Raquel Pennington (who she beat twice) sits upon the throne.
“My goal is always to get to the belt,” Holm said. “If I’m not fighting for the belt, I don’t wanna be fighting at all. If I don’t have some kind of path to the belt, I really don’t wanna do it. I’m not just fighting for payday. I’m not just fighting for fun. It’s with a goal in mind and that’s always it.
“It really stinks when you have a loss because it takes you a step away from it rather than a step closer. So, I do feel like this is a fight that can be closer to the belt. I need to make it make it work, make it happen.”