Holly Holm says her own KO loss in boxing was “life-changing experience,” expects rematch with Ronda Rousey

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

(Matt Roberts) USA TODAY

Holly Holm has a pretty good idea of what Ronda Rousey is going through after their UFC 193 matchup in Australia. The new UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion has been on the wrong side of a vicious knockout, getting stopped by Anne Sophie Mathis in a bout in her hometown of Albuquerque back in 2011.

It’s a hard thing to get over, she admits, but in an interview with Good Day LA last week, she said it was also a major turning point for her.

“There’s a building time for that,” Holm said of getting over a KO loss. “I hate that I’ve been on the other end, but I’ll tell you it was a life-changing experience for me. I really learned a lot about myself and about other people… Those are make-or-break moments, and you go back and have self-doubt, there’s mind-games you play and battle demons and your own doubt.”

Holm credits her coach Mike Winkeljohn for getting her into the mindset to be successful in a rematch with Mathis, which she was six months later.

“There were moments that I could’ve been broken there and before I even went out for the press conference that night,” Holm said (via MMAFighting.com). “I was cut, they had stitched my eye in the back, and I stayed around for the press conference, had to swallow my pride a little bit just to do that.

“He pulled me in the back and he goes, ‘Listen, they’re gonna ask you for a rematch and you know what you’re gunna tell them?’ And I said, ‘What’s that, sir?’ And he goes, ‘Yes. Muhammad Ali is a legend, he’s been knocked down and he came back and he’s a legend, and why am I any different?’ And if I go into detail about that I’ll start crying, but that was a moment for me that I needed. So I never doubted myself from a minute from the minute I got out, and I thought, ‘I’m gonna do this rematch’ and I came back stronger and I avenged my loss.”

She wholly expects Rousey to try to do the same, and can’t imagine not trying get back on top after a loss like that.

“You don’t be on top for that long [and not want the rematch],” Holm said. “I know for me, I thought if I don’t give myself an opportunity for this rematch it’s going to bother me the rest of my life.

Penick’s Analysis: One of the key differences here may be just who the two fighters are working with. Winkeljohn’s approach with Holm after her loss was beneficial, measured, and clearly prepared her for a different outcome. I don’t know that we can say the same for Edmond Tarverdyan, and I’m not sure what to expect out of Rousey if she doesn’t change anything up. Holm’s not an insurmountable foe for Rousey; she still has a significant submission edge, and she did connect on some hard strikes in that first round. She’s got holes to patch, but there are things she might be able to do much differently come July of next year. Holm, having gone through it herself, will try to stop that, but we’ll see what drive Rousey can muster.

[Photo (c) Matt Roberts via USA Today Sports]

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