From the moment Holly Holm defeated Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, she knew a rematch was inevitable. “I think a rematch – that’s just kind of unspoken, just common sense to me,” she said at the post-event press conference. She doesn’t seem all that bothered with having to kill the queen twice in a row, and that may be because she’s got the utmost confidence in herself and her skills. Here’s what she told The New York Times:
Q. If you were to fight her 10 times, how many would you win?
A. “Ten. Because if I tell myself that there is one that I might not get, then I’ll be vulnerable. I also know that I’m beatable, so I’m going to train twice as hard. She’s going to come back. She’s mad that it’s not her title anymore. I’ve got to be twice as ready as last time.”
Holm’s striking is obviously head and shoulders above Rousey, and it sounds like her mental game is on par at least. Ronda used to talk about being able to beat anyone on any given day, from Floyd Mayweather to former UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez. Holm might not be making those claims, but she certainly convinced herself Rousey was beatable:
“I really believed I could do it; I think that’s half the battle. If you’re thinking I’m just going to go in and see if I can kind of last a little bit with her, well, then you’re not going to win.”
“I have a different kind of experience than other girls had. I’ve had to face a lot of different styles and adjust to them. I had to face a lot of bad situations and come back. I’ve had to fight with my eyes swollen shut and my nose broken and bloody. I’ve been the underdog before. Those types of moments helped me in this moment.”
Roy Jones Jr commented on that recently as well – the Rousey fight was Holly Holm’s 51st combat sports fight. She’s gone through multiple 10 round wars in boxing and has gone through serious adversity. Rousey, on the other hand, had never been taken past the third round in a fight and had never even lost a round until Australia. She’s obviously been challenged before in judo, but getting punched in the face is a whole different ball of wax.
How quickly the tides can turn when it comes to people’s perceptions of a fighter. Leading up to Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm at UFC 193, many considered the fight such a foregone conclusion that it was barely worth watching. Now these same people are saying it would be folly for Ronda to return at UFC 200 in July to rematch Holm. They may not agree with Holm’s 10 out of 10 claim, but they’re giving her more than a solid edge in the rematch.
Haven’t they learned that anything can happen in MMA? Holly Holm and her team put together the perfect gameplan to take Ronda apart, but Ronda isn’t gonna come in the same way next time. It will be her turn to figure Holly out, and that doesn’t require a sudden mastery of boxing. A tweak in footwork is all it could take for Rousey’s judo to invalidate Holm’s boxing. It certainly would be interesting to see how the world reacts to that.