Holly Holm Eyes Title Shot With Win Over Julianna Pena
Holly Holm is looking to become a two-time UFC bantamweight champion, and her road to another title shot continues with a top six showdown with Julianna Pena on May 8th.
In her most recent visit to the Octagon last October at UFC Fight Island 4, Holm beat Irene Aldana via unanimous decision, winning back-to-back for the first time since 2015. With a win over Pena, she hopes to get another shot at the UFC bantamweight title, currently held by Amanda Nunes.
Getting A Fight
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Holm revealed that Germaine de Randamie turned down a rematch with her, and although Pena agreed to fight, she also originally turned down the bout.
“It was one of those things where I really didn’t know when I was going to fight again,” Holm said. “We were waiting for answers from Germaine. She said no. Then Pena said no. From what I understand, she said she only wanted a title fight.
“Then a lot of the other girls were scheduled or had just fought and I thought, ‘I don’t know who I’m going to fight or when.’ I thought, ‘I’m just going to keep drilling and trying to get better if something comes up,’ then it comes up. But I didn’t really know. Then sure enough, boom, Pena took the fight and we were ready to rock and roll.”
Pena is coming off an impressive third-round submission victory over Sara McMann at UFC 257, and is a well-rounded fighter. And although Holm acknowledges her strengths, she’s confident of getting her hand raised on the night.
“I think she’s got some skill,” Holm acknowledged. “She’s got skill in each aspect of the game. I could see her scrapping on the feet or being tricky on the ground. I think that her style, she’s like a scrappy fighter. Some fighters can make a fight messy, she’s like that. I think she’s definitely like that. You can’t count her out. Her last fight I don’t think she was necessarily winning until she finished the fight. So you can’t count her out.
“She’s not going to be mentally beat. I think that she’s not scared. She gets in there with every intent to want to win. There’s a lot of things that give her strength in a fight. I just truly feel like I can do better in those situations, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
At UFC 239, Holm challenged Nunes for the bantamweight title, but ended up being on the wrong end of a first round TKO. With a couple of solid performances since then, ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ has put herself back in title contention again.
“What makes that even harder is that Amanda fights at two different weight classes,” Holm said. “I want to show that I deserve to be there for the belt. … I want to fight the top girls, because in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best. I’m not just always waiting for the title fight. I want to fight to get there. That’s the whole goal. Otherwise, what am I doing this for? I’m not doing this just for the paycheque. I’m not doing this just to participate. I’m not doing it just to say I did it. I’m doing it for a purpose, because I want to be the best in the world.
“In order to be the best in the world, I have to fight the best in the world and beat them, which is for the belt, so whatever I need to do to get there. Obviously make the right decisions for that. It’s not like I want to fight a [debuting fighter]. I want to fight the top. Otherwise how am I going to show that I’m ready for this title fight?”
Nunes is set to put her featherweight title on the line against Megan Anderson next month at UFC 259, having successfully defended it for the first time in her last outing at UFC 250 against Felicia Spencer.
Would you be interested in a rematch between Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm?