How Holly Holm Changed Women’s MMA With A Question Not A Highlight



by Mike Pendleton | Chicagoland Sports Radio | a special to Cagesiders

While being a guest at the grand re-opening of Izzy Martinez’s “Izzy Style” wrestling gym, Holly Holm opened up about her future and what her career inside the UFC has been like since landing the head kick heard around the MMA world, that forever changed the game.

As a potential fight with Cris Cyborg is being discussed, a fight that Holm says she is down for and is just waiting to hear from the UFC in order to make the fight happened, there was a different story to be told by the former bantamweight champion.

When asked how her head kick changed the game for women’s MMA and her career, Holm didn’t talk about stardom or the opportunities that came with her newfound fame. Instead, “The Preacher’s Daughter” went back to a small conversation she had with her dad, asking a question we’ve all asked ourselves “why me?”

In a society where doubt is far more evident in us than self-belief, the question that we all ask ourselves whether fighting in a cage, working a 9-5 job, or struggling to find work, “why me?” was transformed to “why not me?” by Holm. The former champion said in talking with her father and having that self-belief, she was able to pull off one of the most shocking and incredible upsets in MMA history when she defeated Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.

Bringing it all back full circle, Rousey had defeated her previous 6 UFC opponents before meeting Holm, and dating back to her time in Strikeforce, had defeated her previous 10 opponents before the night that forever changed the careers of both women.Time and time again, previous Rousey opponents might have wondered “why me?”. Why were they going to be shown on highlight reels over and over as the mainstream media exploded with Rousey’s incredible victories.

That wasn’t the case for Holm, because she changed the question. As she approached the biggest fight of her life, any self-doubt or questioning was thrown out the window as Holm asked “Why not me?”. Why couldn’t she be the first to defeat Rousey? Why couldn’t she be the new women’s bantamweight champion? She could be and she believed she would be, and then it all came true.

As Holm was asked how she felt she forever changed the game of MMA, especially for women both already in it and younger women pursuing it, she said she simply changed the question and hope it’s what everyone after her asks themselves. In this rising sport, to hear this conversation being had from a former champion that has defeated a fighter once seemed untouchable and has also been defeated as the champion, it’s refreshing to get this perspective.

It’s safe to believe that Holly Holm has forever made her impact in this sport and while many believe it was because of her incredible victory over Rousey, she believes there’s much more to her impact than the highlight finishing moves she’s had throughout her career.

If Holm’s next fight comes against women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg, who many believe to be the best women’s fighter currently competing, there won’t be any shortage of self-belief going into the fight. It’s not because Holm has confidence in her style or technique, it’s because she simply changed the question from “why me?” to “why not me?”

So, why not you, Holly Holm? Why not shock the world once again?

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