Holly Holm: 3 Fighters She Should Call out for Her UFC Debut

Clinton Bullock@@clintonbullockFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2014

Holly Holm: 3 Fighters She Should Call out for Her UFC Debut

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    Photo courtesy of Holly Holm

    Holly Holm is one of the most decorated boxers to ever enter the UFC. She is an 18-time boxing world champion in three weight divisions and finished her career with an astounding record of 33-2. Upon transitioning to mixed martial arts, she has accumulated a 7-0 record, with six of those wins coming by way of knockout.  

    However, when Holm signed with the UFC this past July, the organization’s president, Dana White, stated the accomplished boxer would not receive an immediate title shot against the women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. According to Adam Guillen Jr. of SB Nation, White stated Holm would need “at least one non-title UFC fight before challenging” Rousey.

    Holm will have to win her debut matchup and most likely in dramatic fashion. Then, if she is able to call out, secure and knock off a popular and highly ranked opponent, such as the division’s No. 1 contender, Cat Zingano, the No. 3 contender, Miesha Tate or even Amanda Nunes (No. 8), Holm could earn a title shot in early 2015.

Cat Zingano

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    Cat Zingano at UFC TUF 17 Finale
    Cat Zingano at UFC TUF 17 FinaleUSA TODAY Sports

    Zingano is poised to face Amanda Nunes on September 27 at UFC 178. She was scheduled to fight the bantamweight champion after she defeated Tate in a technical knockout victory at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. However, Zingano had to undergo surgery for a severe knee injury and then her husband passed away. As a result, she has been inactive, last appearing in the Octagon in April 2013.

    On May 22, senior UFC writer for Fox Sports Damon Martin reported that, according to White, Zingano would “probably fight again before getting Rousey.” Therefore, a win over Nunes would legitimize Zingano’s standing atop the bantamweight division and more than likely grant her a title shot.

    However, if the 32-year-old loses at UFC 178 after not having fought in almost a year-and-a-half, Holm could take advantage of this opportunity and face Zingano before year’s end. The two are most comfortable with the stand-up game, and a win over a name opponent in Zingano would place Holm among the upper echelon of the bantamweight ranks. 

Miesha Tate

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    Miesha Tate at UFC 168
    Miesha Tate at UFC 168USA TODAY Sports

    Rousey’s nemesis is the division’s No. 3 contender. Tate is coming off a victory over Liz Carmouche and is the only combatant to take the bantamweight champion out of the first round.

    Tate has an upcoming bout against Rin Nakai on September 20 at UFC Fight Night 52. If she is able to secure a victory over her opponent, it may behoove Holm to challenge the former Strikeforce champion later this year. Defeating a well-known opponent in Tate is significant and would catapult Holm to the front of the line with regard to challenging for Rousey’s championship title.

Amanda Nunes

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    Amanda Nunes at the Fight for the Troops 3 weigh-ins
    Amanda Nunes at the Fight for the Troops 3 weigh-insUSA TODAY Sports

    Nunes faces Zingano at UFC 178. A win over her undefeated opponent, especially a dramatic one, would represent the most significant win of Nunes’ career. However, as the No. 8 contender, it is highly unlikely Nunes would receive a title shot, even with a win over Zingano.

    Enter Holm.

    If the former professional boxer expresses interest in fighting Nunes, who would have just beaten the No. 1 contender, a win would more than likely set her up for a title shot. The stakes would be just as high for Nunes as well. If she is able to secure victories over Zingano and Holm, a title shot would be undeniable.

Playing Her Cards Right

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    Holly Holm
    Holly HolmPhoto by Jeremy Botter

    Given the UFC president stated Holm would be required to fight at least once before receiving a title shot, who she fights is key. Facing and defeating someone of name value and of high rank would solidify Holm’s standing among the bantamweight division and earn her a shot at the UFC champion in Rousey.

    Therefore, waiting around for the unraveling of UFC Fight Night 52 and/or UFC 178 is logically sound and benefits Holm in the grandest of ways.