Former UFC women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm has one fight remaining on her current contract. Whether she resigns with the promotion or not, nobody can argue that a rematch with Miesha Tate would garner the attention of MMA fans worldwide.
Having already etched her name in the history books, Holm has nothing to prove. But since she closely fought to a split decision loss against Ketlen Viera in May, she's had time to ponder her options while recovering from surgery. With the expectation of a full-time return to the Jackson-Wink training room in November, she wants to resume her quest to reclaim the 135-pound UFC title in early 2023.
When discussing her return with ESPN, Holm stated that she'd love to battle a fellow former champion Miesha Tate -- the woman who dethroned Holm and took the bantamweight championship via fifth-round submission at UFC 196 in 2016.
"I'm open and ready to fight anyone, but it would come full circle with Miesha," Holm commented. "I know she went down in weight in her last fight, and I don't know what her thoughts would be on coming back up [to bantamweight], but if that's a fight I could get back and avenge a loss, I'd love to. It's not the only thing I'm looking at, but it's at the top of the list."
Holm propelled her name into the spotlight when decapitating an undefeated Ronda Rousey to become the 135lb champion in 2015. She extended her then undefeated record to 10-0, and despite losing her first title defense to Tate, has remained one of the top-ranked bantamweight competitors ever since.
The Tate loss saw Holm lose her next two bouts, but there is absolutely no shame in suffering defeat to some of the most notable names in MMA. Current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko came after the Tate loss, where Holm would surrender a unanimous decision. And then, in a brave attempt to become a two-division champion, "The Preachers Daughter" moved up a weight class to fight Germaine de Randamie for the vacant featherweight title. Holm subsequently lost the contest to GDR in New York. Caesars sportsbook New York and an aligned consensus from sportsbooks and fans believed that Holm would be the successor, but the product of Jackson-Wink MMA couldn't kick her downtrend and was now looking into the barrel of a 3-fight losing streak.
Holm wasn't deterred by her losing streak, as she returned emphatically with a round three stoppage over Bethe Correia to correct her losing streak and her favorable position with the sportsbooks. And since 2018, "The Preachers Daughter" has collected a 3-2 positive record with her two losses, again, coming against the most elite talent in Amanda Nunes, and a split decision loss to Irene Aldana that is still a questionable decision.
"I felt I won that fight, and that would have changed a lot of where things stand right now," Holm said. "Going into the last fight on your contract of a loss is a lot different than going in off a win, so there's some stuff going on with that. It can be harder to stand your ground.
"I think my biggest thing is wanting to get 100 percent healthy and having a performance that stands out from everyone else, so I can show that I still deserve the position I'm in and still have a lot to offer."
Aged 40, critics will give an unwarranted opinion that Holm isn't capable of competing at the highest level. However, they'd be wrong. This sentiment can be corrected by watching Holm compete against Viera - a young up-and-coming talent that struggled to keep up with Holm. And as Holm discussed with ESPN, the argument is very present that she won the contest, where one judge scored the five-round main event 48-47 in favor of the former champ.
What's done is done, and Holm must now focus on the future. As the No.3-ranked bantamweight, inviting Tate back up to the bantamweight division feels like the perfect scenario where Holm can return to the title picture. The initial contest between Holm and Tate was lopsided in favor of "The Preachers Daughter," and she was cruising to a unanimous decision victory up until the eventual fifth-round stoppage.
Whoever the UFC decides to match with Holm, they better be prepared. With an athletic ability most fighters thrive for and a championship level of experience alongside a career filled with top-ranked opposition, "The Preachers Daughter," will be a formidable opponent for any bantamweight competitor on the roster.
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