Just one bout after her historic knockout of Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, Holly Holm saw the bantamweight crown slip through her grasp thanks to a last-gasp submission from Miesha Tate in March.
While it was Holm’s first MMA defeat, the Albuquerque, N.M., native has lost bouts as a professional boxer, so the experience wasn’t entirely foreign to her. Although she did not disappear from the public eye as Rousey did, Holm did admit to having to work through some things in camp as she prepared to face Valentina Shevchenko in the UFC on Fox 20 headliner on Saturday in Chicago.
“Every camp is different. I don’t really compare them because no fight is the same and no fighter has the same style, no training camp is gonna go exactly the same,” Holm said during a recent conference call. “So yes, It’s its own training camp. There’s definitely some emotions that I’m dealing with coming off a loss, those doubts here and that I’ve overcome through this training camp. I feel like I’ve learned a lot; I’ve improved a lot and my goal is to show those improvements when it’s time for the fight.”
Holm was on her way to defending the 135-pound strap with a decision win over Tate at UFC 196, before her opponent landed a late takedown and secured a rear-naked choke at the 3:30 mark of the final round. “The Preacher’s Daughter” actually chose to defend her belt against Tate rather than wait for Rousey’s return, so there were no issues with focus leading up to the bout -- only in the decisive moment.
“I think it was just that momentary lapse. As far as training, I was getting ready for her, I was preparing for her. I wasn’t overlooking her at all,” Holm said. “I do feel like I didn’t fight with the same sense of urgency the last round I should have been. It was that moment that I just made a bad decision. I didn’t react the right way in the fight and just a little lack of focus right there but I’m going to learn from the situation and move forward.”
Tate did not hold on to the belt for long, however, as she was blown out in the first round by Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 on July 9. Holm watched the fight, but with her focus already on Shevchenko at the time, she had very little emotional reaction to the result.
“As far as that fight, I wanted to be the one to give Miesha the loss,” she said. “I hate that it took me having to lose it for them to have the fight. But I had no emotion attached to it I know that I have my fight in front of me with Valentina so I watched the fight just out of curiosity. People who asked me how I thought the fight would go I said if it ends in round one or two I think it will be Amanda. If it ends in round three, four, five or goes to decision, then I thought it would be Miesha, so that’s about as far as I really thought into it.”
Holm also isn’t giving much thought to whether a victory over Shevchenko will put her back into position to challenge for bantamweight gold again.
“I want to win and I’ve got to win in order to get back there. And in order to get a chance you obviously worked your way up and so that is my goal,” she said. “That’s what I want to get back to, but I do know that it is just one fight at a time and I’m just focused on Valentina right now. She’s a very tough opponent and I’m not looking past her.”