Last month UFC announced that Cris “Cyborg” Justino will defend her featherweight title against Holly Holm at UFC 219 on December 19th in Las Vegas.
This is a huge fight. A career-defining bout with big stakes. The title is on the line and Holly Holm is the underdog against one of, if not the best women fighter on the earth. Does this all sound familiar? Back at UFC 193, Holm hit the ‘kick heard ’round the world’ on Ronda Rousey and earned the biggest MMA victory of her life in front of a shocked audience.
Holm’s coach Mike Winkeljohn says that his student, who has held world titles in both boxing and mixed martial arts, has the striking nous to neutralize the considerable threat that Cyborg poses on the feet. Coach Winkeljohn speaking to Submission Radio recently.
“Oh, absolutely [there are comparisons to the fight with Ronda Rousey]. You know what, behind the scenes when we fought Ronda we were pretty confident that we had the proper game plan to beat Ronda. Everybody thought we were crazy, everyone thought Holly was crazy when she first fought Christy Martin back in the early days in boxing cause Christy Martin knocked everyone out, and Holly made that look easy, and she had what I call that ‘Christy Martin’ moment where Christy tried to throw a punch at her, Holly slipped under and then Christy almost went through the ropes. Guess what? Ronda did the same thing, and it’s gonna happen in the Cris Cyborg fight, she’s gonna have that same moment.”
“Holly’s stopping Cris Cyborg probably later in the fight. You know, round four, round five she’s gonna finish the fight, shock the world again. Absolutely [Holm isn’t being paid what she’s worth]. No, she deserves much more, but it is what it is. Cyborg’s got the title, Holly doesn’t have a title, so we don’t have all the chips at the moment, and the fight is what’s most important. Beating Cris Cyborg puts Holly back and higher where she will be the, I guess, biggest name ever in women’s combat sports. So she’s gotta win the fight and got to do that first, and then maybe she’ll get paid even more in the next one.”
Holm is coming off a knockout win over Bethe Correia in the main event of UFC Singapore back in June. The fight marked a return to 135 after she’d lost to Germaine de Randamie for the inaugural featherweight title in February. Holm needs to conjure up the focus and energy against Cyborg like the way she did against Rousey. If she can do that, Winkeljohn is right: Just like that, she’ll be the biggest name in women’s MMA with wins over two greatest-of-all-time athletes in different divisions.
What do you guys think Holm will manage to beat Cris Cyborg at UFC 219?