Holly Holm made her UFC debut on Saturday night and came out the victor in a hard-fought bout against Raquel Pennington, which puts her career at 8-0. But before she even entered the ring over the weekend, her name was being thrown around quite a bit. Namely, because fans of the sport are wondering if she might be the one who throws a wrench into Ronda Rousey’s undefeated streak.
Holm says she’s well aware of the talk, and while she’d ultimately like to have a few more fights under her belt for the experience, she’s confident that she could take on Rousey right now if she had to.
“I’ve only had seven fights total, and I’m just being honest: I’ve had some tough girls that give a good fight, but they haven’t been the highest ranked either,” Holm said before Saturday’s bout. “It’s not that I don’t believe in myself to know I can compete with these other top girls, but would I want a few more fights? Absolutely. Because when I go in there and face her, I want to do well. But if they said it had to be soon, I would definitely believe in myself to win.”
As for the much-talked about match between Holm and Pennington, Holm reportedly used her speed to dart in and out of the space between the two of them, keeping Pennington on her toes the entire time and building frustration until, at the end, Pennington stopped pulling punches and really went for it. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.
“Finally. There were so many expectations, I didn’t feel like I could really live up to them,” Holm said after the match.
Holm was originally supposed to debut at the UFC well before Saturday, but was kept back due to an injury. Before the match, she told reporters she felt that the organization had been welcoming to her.
“I feel a lot of girls want to say, ‘Well, I’ll welcome her,’ and rightfully so. I like it. I like that people are looking at me and I do like it that they’re going to be coming with their best game,” Holly Holm said.