Holly Holm was on her way to retaining the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship in the fifth round against Miesha Tate at UFC 196 when things took a sharp turn. Tate exploded with a takedown, got her back, and secured a rear naked choke quickly. It was already too late by the time Holm attempted to defend the hold, and she blamed herself afterward for getting far too comfortable with where things were in the fight.
“You know, I think that I just have to for me, any time in lose, I just have to be honest with myself. I feel like I knew I was ahead on the scorecards and honestly, maybe I felt like I was getting a little too complacent there instead of being there acting with that sense of urgency,” Holm said at the post-fight press conference (transcribed by MMAFighting.com). “She got in, I should’ve been fighting the hands before doing that. I let her get it way too tight before I tried to shuck her off. Just big mistake. Cost me everything tonight, but I’ll be back.
“It isn’t easy, but it’s a growing experience,” she continued. “There’s always these odds on paper, I always say, but for me it’s always 50-50 when you get in there. There’s a winner and a loser and that’s all there is to it. Tonight I do feel like I was doing enough to win the fight. She had a great second round. I had 1, 3 and 4 and event 5 until I slipped up there.
“It’s a learning experience for me. I should’ve been fighting those hands right away. I should’ve just so not gotten so complacent. I kinda let my guard down a little too soon and it cost me the fight.”
Holm obviously wants a rematch, but she doesn’t regret taking the challenge of this fight when she could have waited for a rematch with Ronda Rousey. She’s ready to get back in action as soon as she can, against anyone the UFC wants to put her in with.
“Before this fight, a lot of people asked, ‘Why are you taking this fight? You should wait for the rematch,'” Holm commented. “You know what? I’m in it to fight. That’s what I’m in it for. Tonight I made some mistakes and that’s all it comes down to. I need to fix those mistakes and I’m going to come back stronger.
“Miesha capitalized. I’ve said this from the beginning: she’s a scrapper. She can be behind in a fight and she can still finish and I let my guard down. It cost me the fight. It cost me the fight. So, the next thing I want to do is go in. I want to go back in the gym and get better. This is a whole different fight I had and I do feel like my whole MMA career has been on this fast course, which I love. I want the challenge. I wanted to take this challenge. I wanted to get back in there, I want a rematch or whoever they’ll set up a fight with. I want that. I’m here to fight.”
Penick’s Analysis: Holm made the kind of mistake many fighters before her have made. As she says, the complacency, the willingness to coast in that final frame when she knew she was up, it left her open as soon as Tate decided she was going to explode for that takedown. The whole sequence happened quickly, Holm didn’t respond well off the bat, and as she says it cost her “everything.” She’s going to get an opportunity to bounce back, and the rematch with Rousey remains a big money fight down the line. A rematch with Tate will be a must at some point as well, and she’s going to have to do what she can to not let something like that happen again.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
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