It is no secret that Holly Holm wants to win another world championship in the UFC before she ends her MMA career.
After her victory over Raquel Pennington this Saturday at UFC 246, “The Preachers Daughter” told Joe Rogan “I really do feel like I can be champ again and that’s what I wanna do”. After defeating Ronda Rousey to capture the bantamweight championship in 2015, Holm has come close but failed to reclaim a championship within the UFC. Holm has admitted that she “improved a lot” since 2015 and is “here for the gold” not just a “participating ribbon”.
Let’s take a look at four fights which could lead Holly Holm to her goal of competing for UFC gold and once again becoming a world champion.
The winner of Aspen Ladd vs Julianna Peña
Ladd and Peña are set to meet each other in the octagon at UFC on ESPN 8 on 28th March 2020. Ladd is currently ranked the number 2 bantamweight contender in the world meanwhile Peña is ranked number 4 meaning the winner of this match could make a case that they are next in line for a title opportunity. Both women have history with Holm. Previously Julianna Peña labelled Holm “Harmless Holly” and has called a fight between the two a “money fight”, meanwhile Aspen Ladd and Holm were scheduled to fight at UFC 235 before the fight got cancelled with Ladd accusing Holm of “backing out” which Holm denied stating “I didn’t have any idea this was going to be cancelled”.
Both ladies would present an interesting challenge for “The Preacher’s Daughter” as while Holm is known to prefer fighting on the feet, both Ladd and Peña are known to prefer fighting on the ground. Ladd has finished 3 of her last 4 victories by ground and pound whereas Peña’s last three victories come by decision over Jessica Eye, Cat Zingano and Nicco Montaño. A fight against either will give Holm the opportunity to showcase the improvements she has claimed to have made within the sport of MMA and with a victory over either woman, an opportunity to fight for the title will not be far away.
2019 was a breakout year for Irene Aldana, she made a statement and proved that she is one of the best bantamweight contenders in the world. With victories over Bethe Correia, Vanessa Melo and the previously undefeated Ketlen Vieira, Aldana has proven that she is ready to challenge for the title. A match between both Aldana and Holm would be one of the biggest and most interesting fights in the bantamweight division, both women have a similar style of fighting when it comes to the striking and have constantly made and displayed improvements throughout the recent years of their mixed martial arts careers.
Aldana is coming off one of the biggest wins of her career with a knockout victory over the previously unstoppable Ketlen Vieira, showcasing the one punch knockout power she possesses. Aldana is one of the most well-rounded women in the division and has finished 9 of her 12 victories with 6 knockouts and 3 submissions. Her only loss in 2019 came to Raquel Pennington in a close controversial split decision, similar to Holm’s first encounter with Pennington, which Holm was on the victorious side of a split-decision. A fight between Holm and Aldana will be one to watch and could result in a highlight knockout which both ladies are capable off. There is no doubt the winner of this fight would be one of the next in line to challenge Nunes for the bantamweight championship.
Germaine de Randamie
A victory in a rematch with Germaine de Randamie would be the most defiant way to prove that Holm is ready for another shot at Amanda Nunes. Holm and de Randamie first met in 2017 in a bout for the inaugural women’s featherweight championship. Germaine de Randamie very controversially won the first fight by decision. In what was considered ‘one of the worst officiating displays in UFC history’, referee Todd Anderson failed to deduct any points from de Randamie after hitting Holm after the bell on multiple occasions, furthermore he was notably quick to break up Holm’s attempts to work in the clinch. Regardless of this, many were shocked that the judges gave the decision in favour of de Randamie and believe that Holm was the true winner of this fight.
Having just competed in her first mixed martial arts rematch against Raquel Pennington and dominantly winning the fight via decision, Holm proved doubters wrong who thought that the first fight should have gone the other way. A rematch between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie could be a good opportunity for both women to rewrite history over their previously controversial meeting, a dominant victory would secure the winner the number-one ranking in the division and in all likelihood, will be in the position to fight Amanda Nunes by the end of the year, as she is running out of legitimate challengers in the bantamweight division.
“The Preachers Daughter” could take another route to a rematch with Amanda Nunes and that is by moving back up to the featherweight division. The 145 division is almost non-existent, with Felicia Spencer & Megan Anderson being the two high profile names in the division, with the exception of double champ, Amanda Nunes. Holm has already beat Megan Anderson with a dominant decision at UFC 225 in 2018. The following year Felicia Spencer submitted Megan Anderson in the very first round, making a name for herself before taking Cyborg to decision 2 months later, proving that she is one of the best 145 women in the world and rightfully deserves her place in the UFC.
Felicia Spencer and Holly Holm are the only two women in the UFC who have managed to go the distance with Cyborg and a bout between the two would solidify who is next in line to fight Amanda Nunes for the featherweight championship. Spencer is a former Invicta FC Featherweight Champion and has finished 5 of her 8 MMA fights with 4 submissions and one TKO victory. A fight between Holm and Spencer could be very interesting and would give Amanda Nunes the opportunity to defend her featherweight champion while the bantamweight division can establish a top contender upon Nunes return to the 135 division.
Who do you think Holly Holm should fight next? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.