Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Ronda Rousey had been compared to the “Iron” Mike Tyson who dominated boxing’s heavyweight division decades ago. Just as Tyson had his upset loss against Buster Douglas, Rousey was downed by Holly Holm in impressive fashion on November 14, 2015. Holm left no doubt on the matter when she dominated the “Rowdy” one up through the second round, when Holm ended the fight with a brutal kick to head and throat of Rousey. Those who believed that Rousey was unbeatable were left in shock, as the woman who had also featured in movies and who had made an appearance at a WrestleMania had lost her aura of invincibility.
There were some diehard followers of mixed martial arts and also analysts who believed, leading up to what became a historic showdown, that Holm had the goods to stun the sports world and pull off what will forever go down as one of the biggest upsets in the history of combat sports. Those who only tuned in to UFC or only completed treks to local bars to watch fights whenever they included Rousey, though, are probably still a little unfamiliar with Holm. Here are 10 things you might not know about the new baddest woman on the planet.
Before she became known as the woman who knocked Rousey clear into next week, Holm was known as the pride of Albuquerque, New Mexico. That is not just a gimmick. Holm is so popular in her hometown, per Elisa Cepeda of FOX Sports, that City Councilor Dan Lewis celebrated her victory over Rousey by signing a proclamation that made November 2015 “Holly Holm Month” in Albuquerque. Holm’s numerous accomplishments as a professional fighter are mentioned in the proclamation. The one that stands out is, of course, Holm’s victory over Rousey.
9. The Preacher’s Daughter
Every good boxer and/or fighter needs a solid nickname. Ronda Rousey has the nickname “Rowdy,” for example. Holm chose to go in a different direction and select a label that is not all that intimidating. She is, as those who watched her fight Rousey probably remember, known as “The Preacher’s Daughter.” This, as is explained in the biography that is found on Holm’s official website, is a true tribute to her father, who “was a preacher at Bosque Farms Church of Christ for 18 years.” Holm proved that a name is just a name, and that she can do all of her talking inside of the cage.
8. Great Athlete
Those who were introduced to Holm leading up to her fight against Rousey probably heard about how Holm was already an accomplished fighter. Before she began terrorizing opponents inside of rings and MMA cages, Holm had been involved in multiple sports. She was, according to the biography that is posted on her website, a soccer player, a swimmer, a diver and also a gymnast. Holm explained, via her biography, that a different type of activity got her involved in combat sports: ““I started aerobics to keep in shape, saw the (kickboxing) class, thought it looked pretty cool, so I thought I’d try it for one fight and see what it was like.”
7. Accomplished Boxer
Those of you who are curious to learn how many championships and other honors that Holm earned as a boxer can head on over to the “Awards” section of her website. Be warned, though, that you’d better have some free time on your hands in order to read all of those accomplishments. Among them are Junior Welterweight, Welterweight and World Light Welterweight Championship runs. Holm was also inducted into The New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame back in 2013. As impressive as those stats are, not everybody involved in MMA is convinced that Holm was as successful as she has claimed.
Chael Sonnen has been a lot of things over the years. Shy about voicing his opinion does not check in on the list. Sonnen, per Adam Guillen Jr. of the MMA Mania website, told Submission Radio leading up to the Rousey-Holm fight that there was “no validity” to the world championships that Holm had supposedly won. Sonnen did not stop there, adding the following:
I mean guys, I can go open the door to my garage right now, invite all comers, and then put a belt around whoever wins and call it the ‘world championship’. And I mean that kind of stuff happens all the time. You see it in arm wrestling.
5. Successful Debuts
Holm has not been a stranger to success regardless of when she has made the switch from one combat sport to another. While she was introduced to a kickboxing class at what would be considered to be the start of her career, Holm made her professional boxing debut on January 25, 2002. She, per the biography on her website and also the BoxRec website, won that contest by TKO. Holm won her first ever MMA match by head kicks back in 2011. Last but not least, Holm won her UFC debut earlier in 2015 when she notched a victory over Raquel Pennington.
One of the criticisms that some in the MMA world have lobbed toward Rousey over the years is that she was undefeated more so because of the lack of quality in the women’s bantamweight division than because she was so dominant. One has to wonder if that will now be said of Holm, especially if those rumors about Rousey eyeing retirement turn out to be true. Holm, like Rousey before her, is an undefeated fighter, and she has won all three of her UFC bouts. She has not picked up a reputation for ending fights in seconds as did Rousey, but Holm is nevertheless 10-0 as a pro MMA competitor.
3. Holm Broke Vegas
Holm did not just break Rousey’s run as the top female UFC competitor. The new women’s champion also delivered a massive blow to Las Vegas sports books. Josh Peter of USA Today explained following Holm’s upset victory:
The consensus line: bettors had to wager $900 on Rousey to win $100 and could wager $100 on Holm to win $600.
Betting tickets on Holm outnumbered those on Rousey by a 5-fo-1 margin at Westgate, according to (Vice President of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook Jay) Kornegay.
There should one day be a rematch between Holm and Rousey. Will it be Rousey who is the underdog for that showdown?
2. Brute Force
You don’t have to be a scientist or an expert in physics to realize that Holm delivered some brutal blows to Rousey when the two met inside of the cage. Rhett Allain of Wired used math to hypothesize just how hard Holm nailed Rousey with the blow that was the beginning of the end of the fight. Allain figured that Rousey was struck with a kick that had an average force of 48.7 pounds. That is close to 50 pounds of an object that does not have much give making contact with the head of a human being. No thanks, Ms. Holm.
1. Holm Used to Beat Up Boys
While doing media for the fight against Rousey, Holm once described how she got into some tussles with boys during her youth. These encounters, she explained, occurred mostly because she was trying to defend a companion who maybe had been wronged. “Girls mature faster than boys,” Holm joked during that interview. Holm has, since defeating Rousey, shown maturity, grace and class in press events that have occurred following her history-making performance. Will it be Holm and not Rousey who finishes off the decade as the pound-for-pound best women’s fighter in the world? Rousey may have something to say about such conversations in 2016.