Holly Holm is now officially part of the UFC, and after a decent if somewhat uninspiring debut win, there are still plenty of open questions about her future in MMA.
Holly Holm improved to 8-0 in mixed martial arts last night at UFC 184, beating Raquel Pennington by split decision in Holm’s UFC debut. The 33-year-old Holm, a former boxing champion, earned mixed reviews in her debut with the biggest company in MMA, but one thing everyone — even Holm — seemed to agree on is that a lot more work has to be done before she’s even in consideration to be a serious opponent for UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who submitted Cat Zingano in 14 seconds in last night’s main event.
Zingano, who made a crucial mistake and paid for it immediately, was not just a legitimate challenger, she was the legitimate, top-ranked challenger for Rousey’s title. Rousey’s last three fights combined have gone a total of 1 minute and 36 seconds, and in her 11 pro fights, she’s been pushed past 1:06 just three times, only having to go past the first round once.
It’s perfectly arguable that Rousey (11-0, 9 SUB, 2 KO/TKO) is flat-out the most dominant fighter in the world of combat sports today. Nobody truly owns their competition the way Rousey does — not Floyd Mayweather, not Jon Jones, not Gennady Golovkin,
Holm, with her background in boxing, could be salable on some level as a danger, but last night’s performance by “The Preacher’s Daughter” probably didn’t help speed that along. Not that Holm fought poorly or anything, but she was clearly not yet an elite-level fighter, and of the two women in the cage, it was Pennington who landed the stiffer punches and kicks, as Holm mostly maintained distance with pushing side kicks and quick, touch-touch-touch style punching. Holm deserved the win that she got, but by no means could you take that performance and sell her as a danger to Rousey. It will take time, and it will take risks, if Holly Holm is going to get there.
Will she, though? Will Holly Holm become a serious player in UFC