Athletes & Celebrities

UFC Fighter Holly Holm Discusses her MMA career

The 33-year-old striker has always kicked butt and dishes on what her transition over to the UFC has been like.

UFC Fighter Holly Holm Discusses her MMA career

Atop the UFC women's matriarchy sits dominant champions Ronda Rousey and Joanna Jedrzeczyk. The pair have used the Octagon to carefully illustrate their prowess above all other female fighters.

Enter former professional boxing champion Holly Holm. The 33-year-old competed in three different weight classes, becoming an 18-time champion throughout the course of her 10-plus year boxing career. 

Now, Holm calls the UFC women's bantamweight division, well, home. The path she took just set foot in the Octagon was arduous. From a lengthy negotiating process, to lofty expectations and a neck injury, Holm had to win the mental battle first and stay focused.

"When they announced my first fight, there was a lot of build up and then when I had to cancel my bout in December because I had a herniated disk in my neck. That postponed the fight later and increased the anticipation," Holm told Muscle & Fitness Hers.

"The Preacher's Daughter," as he she's called, was very overwhelmed by the media attention, the Rousey questions; not to mention she fought back from a broken arm earlier in 2014 and had her debut fight slide up to the co-main event on the UFC 184 pay-per-view after an injury to another fighter. 

In February, Holm made her way to the UFC cage and defeated the durable Raquel Pennington by split decision. Afterwards, with much of the hype subsiding, she ran into her boss, UFC president Dana White.

"I remember seeing Dana in the back and he said 'Hey, how was it?' and I said 'I have a lot more potential than that and you'll see more.'," Holm recalled.

Three months later, in May, she would receive her next assignment, the well-rounded Marion "The Bruiser" Reneau, who Holm will face at UFC Fight Night 71 on July 15. The 38-year-old American last defeated Brazilian grappler Jessica Andrade with a first-round submission. 

Holm knows that it's going to take much more effort out of her if she's going to dispatch Reneau. 

"Jessica and her a pretty good little battle going on in that first round. I think it showed that she doesn't get mentally beat," assessed Holm. "She is very well-round and has great skill, but she also has that mindset and drive, which makes her a very tough opponent."

She has had the last eight weeks to prepare at her Jackson's MMA fight camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Holm is as healthy as she has ever been and with less media attention, she is focused solely on the task at hand.

"I'm injury free. I'm healthy. Training has been going good. I've had a good, hard week of training," Holm says. "There's always a fine line between training hard and being too hard on your body. Right now, it has been a great balance."

Fight camp is a grind. Holm is at it, trying to become more acclimated with her new sport, every day of the week. 

She runs five days a week, incorporates strength training into her camp two days per week, and also teaches a cardio-kickboxing class on the side for muscle memory and have fun. MMA training is something that is beneficial to even those who are not fighting. 

"It becomes a monotonous routine when you go to the gym sometimes," says Holm. "When you go to a kickboxing class, or a jiu-jitsu class, it's constantly evolving and changing. It's a great, full-body workout, whether it's jiu-jitsu, or kickboxing."

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