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Holly Holm Refuses to Be a ‘Steppingstone’ for UFC’s New Female Talent

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UFC on ESPN 16 was an opportunity for Irene
to solidify herself as the bantamweight division’s No. 1

UFC president Dana White
indicated as much
when speaking to media last month following
an episode of the Contender Series. However, Holly Holm
had other ideas.

The former 135-pound champion, just a couple weeks shy of her 39th
birthday, authored one of the most complete performances of her UFC
career, as she dominated Aldana for five rounds in Abu Dhabi on
Saturday night. Once upon a time, Holm was the intriguing new
talent, a boxing champion with a pedigree not often seen in women’s

“When I first came to MMA, a lot of people didn’t really know what
to expect,” she said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference.
“And then [eventually] they all knew who I was but there was this
whole new excitement coming through, a lot of young talent and
they’re trying to come in…they think that this is their
steppingstone. And I’m not gonna be that.”

Coming off less-than-enthralling victory over Raquel
at UFC 246, Holm put it all together against Aldana:
aggressive punching flurries, the usual toolbox of kicks,
takedowns, positional advancement and ground-and-pound.

“It felt good to just go in there and have a dominating
performance, not something that’s too close,” Holm said. “There’s
fights that I’ve had that have been brawls and there’s some that
have been in the clinch where I’m trying to put it all together and
be a full, well-rounded fighter, and I felt like I was able to do a
lot of that tonight. But yes, I always want to do more.”

Holm nearly punctuated her victory with a finish in Round 5, when
she rocked Aldana with a head kick and aggressively attacked with
punches in the bout’s waning moments.

“I knew she was rocked and I wish I would’ve maybe capitalized on
it right away, but I also didn’t want to run into anything stupid,”
Holm said. “I knew it was getting close to the end of the round and
I thought, ‘Well let’s just let it go for a little bit.’

“We almost got her. She was close.”

Holm has hovered near title contention for the majority of her UFC
tenure. Thanks to her historic knockout of Ronda
in 2015, “The Preacher’s Daughter” is well established
as one of the promotion’s top female stars. Another title shot
against reigning champ Amanda
, who defeated Holm via first-round KO at UFC 239, might
not yet be on the horizon, but the Jackson-Wink MMA representative
plans to keep moving forward no matter what the future might

“I’m gonna keep working hard. That’s all I’m gonna do,” Holm said.
“I know [Nunes has] got a lot going on right now, another fight
already scheduled. There’s still some other tough girls [in this
weight class]. I feel like the 135-pound division is always pretty
stacked. I never get my sights set on something too hard. I just
wait until the opportunity comes. The next fight is the next fight.
And whatever that will be, I’m gonna put my heart and soul into it

One possibility is a rematch with Germaine
de Randamie
, who earned an impressive submission triumph
against Julianna
at UFC on ESPN 16 earlier in the evening. Holm and de
Randamie squared off for the inaugural women’s featherweight crown
in 2017, when the Dutch kickboxer emerged with a controversial
unanimous decision triumph that included a shots after the bell in
both the second and third rounds. Holm
appealed the defeat but was denied

“That’s definitely an option,” Holm said. “Everybody felt her and I
might meet up again. We’ll see what happens; we’ll see where it
goes from here.”

This article first appeared at Recent News on

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