Her leap from obscurity to instant celebrity landed her on daytime talk shows and chatting with late-night hosts and made her — oh so briefly — the most talked about fighter in UFC.
She’s trying these days to avoid another rather dubious fight conversation.
Holm’s championship reign lasted only four months, and another loss soon followed that left Holm not as the heir apparent to Rousey in the women’s division, but rather on the cusp of being labeled an MMA version of a one-hit wonder like Buster Douglas. Douglas rode a stunning knockout of Mike Tyson in 1990 in Japan all the way to fight immortality — sports fans can’t forget his name, yet he never had another major victory in his career.
Holm’s not quite there yet, though she was composed enough this week at Barclays Center to answer questions that lumped her in with Douglas.
“After the fight with Ronda, I knew that if I didn’t win after that, those would be things that would be tossed around,” Holm said. “But I’m not in this sport toplease everybody else and what they think and what they feel. I’m in it because I love it.”
Douglas was a 42-1 longshot when he KO’d the undefeated and seemingly indestructible Tyson and won the heavyweight championship. Douglas gained about 35 pounds and had grown lazy on his 15 minutes of fame when he lost the belt in quick fashion eight months later to Evander Holyfield.
Holm lost the bantamweight belt when Miesha Tate choked her out in March 2016 and she lost a decision to Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of a Fox card in July. Both fights went five rounds and are the only losses in her career.
“It’s not like I’ve been fighting nobody’s. They’re very tough opponents,” Holm said. “I do feel in my heart that I have the capability to win those fights. I just know that I didn’t perform my best.”
Holm (10-2) can erase the Douglas comparisons and become the first two-division champion in UFC women’s history when she fights Germaine de Randamie(6-3) in the main event of UFC 208. Holm, fighting in the new 145-pound featherweight division created as a showcase for Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, can join Conor McGregor, Randy Couture and B.J. Penn as the only two-division champs in UFC history.
“I can guarantee you, they can build this division in no time,” Holm said. “They just have to make some phone calls. Because there’s a lot of girls out there that are very tough.”
Justino’s UFC fate is in limbo because of a doping violation that knocked her off the New York card. After winning titles in the Invicta and Strikeforce promotions, Justino won her first two fights in the UFC. But she said she tested positive for a diuretic she is taking as part of a therapeutic treatment due to medical issues related to her difficult weight cuts before bouts.
Rousey may not fight again following her 48-second loss to Amanda Nunes in her comeback fight at UFC 207.
Holm is forever linked to Rousey in the history book. The 35-year-old Holm, who went 33-2-3 as a professional boxer and won several championship belts, wants to prove she’s more than the fighter who handed Rousey her first L.
“I don’t want my whole career to be defined around getting the belt from Ronda,” Holm said. “I want my career to be defined by me being the best fighter I can be and accomplishing the biggest things I can, and whatever competition comes in front of me. So, I want this for me for my career. I don’t want it to just be around the one fight. I want them to remember everything after.”
Like Holm, the 32-year-old de Randamie moved up in weight for the shot at the title in the first UFC pay-per-view in 2017. She’s a Dutch kickboxer who also fought in Strikeforce and also lost to Nunes in 2013.
She gained a slice of notoriety when she knocked out Belgian actor Tom Waes in a short bout filmed for a reality show.
“I fought a man who had 40 pounds over me and I knocked him out,” she said.
Though in the main event, she might be the least known fighter on a Brooklyn card that boasts UFC legend Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson . Jacare Souza fights Tim Boetsch, Glover Teixeira fights Jared Cannonier and Jim Miller takes on Dustin Poirier in the other PPV bouts.