UFC standout Kevin Holland put the MMA world into a frenzy after the out-of-nowhere announcement that he had officially retired from combat sports.
MMA’s favorite part-time superhero gave fans a scare when it looked like he was ready to hang up the gloves following a big payday received for his last-minute scrap with welterweight monster Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279 in September. During an appearance on ‘The MMA Hour‘ with Ariel Helwani, Holland revealed that his retirement was very much real, albeit brief.
“I think for a second there I was like, ‘Hey, I can walk away right now and be happy. No stress.’ People were like, ‘Even with the last performance?” Even with the last performance, I’m cool with it. Samurai code. Ready to die at any time. F*ck it, it is what it is. I seen [Daniel Rodriguez] get the Neil Magny fight. We had talked about some different things. Negotiating thing that went down during the Chimaev thing. We talked about some things like I said and some things was talked about so I thought this or that would happen and it didn’t look like nothing was really playing out.”
In the end, Holland chose to put off his retirement when the UFC came to him with an opportunity to face perennial contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in a UFC Fight Night main event this December. Asked if he would consider this a dream fight of sorts, Holland agreed with that sentiment.
“Yeah, it’s fair to say. Yeah. Veteran striker. Been around the game for a long time. What he’s done speaks for itself. I’m really excited.”
Kevin Holland Happy With How Things Played Out Despite Loss to Khamzat Chimaev
Aside from his quickly rescinded retirement, Kevin Holland has remained largely quiet about the way things went down at UFC 279. Originally scheduled to face Daniel Rodriguez, the event was thrown into total disarray when previously scheduled main eventer Khamzat Chimaev came in significantly overweight for his bout with a fleeing Nate Diaz. As a result, the main card was shifted with Holland stepping in to face ‘Borz’ in the co-main event.
“The morning of weigh-ins, I got a call asking what my weight was. I was on point of where I was supposed to be. A little bit under. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I am.’ They were like, ‘Let’s talk.’ So we went and talked. It was a fruitful conversation so no complaints here. No complaints. I’m not a complainer.”
Prior to their short-notice showdown, Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev had a confrontation backstage at the UFC 279 media event that resulted in the cancellation of the press conference. The UFC stated it could not guarantee the safety of its fighters or the attendees due to the chaos erupting between multiple fight camps.
“I pushed Chimaev, Chimaev threw a push kick that hit me and I got mad because he almost f*cked up the Burberry. You know, you can’t mess with a man’s Burberry so I got a little pissed off. I told him don’t step in my bubble, my personal space. Remember last we we was in each other’s personal space he pushed me so I pushed him. Then he got the push kick so, long story short, Chimaev just keeps whooping my ass so I might want to stay away from that guy.”
Asked if he would do anything different, Holland gave Ariel Helwani a resounding no.
“No. Wouldn’t do anything different. The golden thing about Kev is Kev doesn’t want to change anything at all. Nothing. Ever. Nothing. I mean, it is what it is. You live and you learn. How else are you going to learn if you don’t live?”