Holly Holm Knows She Came to the UFC with a Target on Her Back

Duane Finley@duanefinleymmaContributor IAugust 6, 2014

Photo courtesy of Holly Holm

A lot of excitement and expectations surround Holly Holm's arrival to the UFC.

The former three-divisional boxing-champion-turned-mixed-martial-artist has been garnering attention since making her MMA debut back in 2011. That said, the hype surrounding Holm amplified in a major way when The Preacher's Daughter officially officially signed with biggest promotion in the sport last month.

Holm has been impressive while competing on smaller stages, but there is a solid collection of talent in the women's bantamweight fold, and her arrival immediately stirred things up in the weight class. 

The Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter will bring her perfect 7-0 record to the UFC, and Miesha Tate has already made her bid to welcome the former boxing champion to the Octagon. Holm knows she has a target on her back and plans to use the expectation surrounding her for motivation.

On Wednesday night, the former pound-for-pound boxing great stopped by UFC Tonight where she spoke to Kenny Florian and her former teammate, Brian Stann, about the anticipation surrounding her future UFC debut.

"It's a lot of pressure," Holm said. "Even people who run into me ask if I'm excited that I made it to the UFC. Yeah, that's exciting, but I haven't made it anywhere yet. I have all my work ahead of me. It's exciting, but it comes with a lot of pressure and there is a lot of emotion around that. But I figure you have to take the good with the bad.

"If no one was excited about it or talking about it that means I wasn't really someone to look out for. Like you said, I do have a target on my back and a lot of girls want to be the first to get at me. I like that. It makes me want to train harder and I want to stay focused and keep it as motivation."

While the 32-year-old New Mexico-based fighter has yet to make initial showing under the UFC banner, fans are already clamoring to see her step in against women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

Jul 5, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ronda Rousey walks towards the octagon before defending her women's bantamweight title against Alexis Davis at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Rowdy's reign atop the 135-pound division has been one of dominance where she's defeated all four of the contenders the UFC has lined up across from her. Yet, the list of potential title challengers is thin at the current time, and Holm could certainly find herself on the fast track to a showdown with the former Olympic judoka in quick fashion.

And while the women's bantamweight title is Holm's ultimate goal, she is more than happy to take things one step at a time. 

"In this sport, if you don't want to be the best then you shouldn't be in it," Holm said. "She is the person to beat. There are a lot of tough girls to beat along the way. I want to take it one step at a time and work my way up. I would obviously love to fight for the title; otherwise, why would I be in this sport? It's one of my goals and dreams, and I'm going to keep shooting for it."


Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.