Holly Holm was the clear-cut breakout star of MMA in 2015, but there were many questions about what may be in the cards for her in 2016. While there aren't yet any clear answers, Holm shed some light on what's next for her...and odds are, it isn't anything involving Ronda Rousey. Speaking with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour (Warning, NSFW Language), Holm dropped some hints about what lies ahead for her.
When asked for any details about her new contract (a story which was broken by ESPN last night), she instead broke down the facts surrounding her next fight. "If I fight sooner rather than later, it won't be a rematch, but it's still possible for a rematch," she said. "They haven't really announced anything exact yet, so I guess we'll just wait and see how the cards unfold. But I'm not going anywhere. I'll fight again, hopefully sooner rather than later."
The fact that Holm answered a question about her contract with her thoughts about her next fight is most interesting. While Helwani was likely inquiring about details such as the length of the contract, the number of bouts and the financial figures therein, one could easily infer from Holm's answer that there are some yet-to-be-announced facts regarding her first title defense.
If so, that's a good thing for the new champ. Holm became a breakout celebrity in 2015 by upsetting Rousey in emphatic fashion at UFC 193. While Rousey is known for her assassin-like ability to quickly, cleanly defeat opponents without any difficulty, Holm shocked the world by using her disciplined, intelligent striking to keep Rousey at a manageable distance before knocking her out with a devastating head kick.
That performance, and the UFC's public insistence on shelving Holm in order to set up Holm vs. Rousey 2, has inspired a great deal of discussion about the role of immediate rematches in the UFC and has many questioning whether Rousey even deserves another crack at Holm. With Rousey herself telling ESPN The Magazine (Warning, NSFW Language) that she will be gone for a long while, there is some debate about whether the UFC would be wasting the buzz surrounding Holm by keeping her out of action.
With that, and the fact that Holm's management team has been actively pushing for her to fight again soon, some of the discussion has turned to contenders like Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes. Later in the interview, Holm made it clear that she is not planning her schedule around Rousey's return.
"I just don't want to wait around for things if they're not set in stone," Holm said (h/t MMAFighting.com's Marc Raimondi for the transcription). "A lot of people have been talking about the rematch, but nobody really knows for sure ... I don't want to wait around for something that may not happen. I want to be able to fight soon. I like being active, because I love the sport."
Which would you rather see?
Interestingly, details on Holm's next fight may surface in the immediate future. Holm's manager, Lenny Fresquez, teased that Holm's next fight may be coming soon. "The UFC will be having an announcement this week and they'll be announcing it," said Lenny Fresque, per FoxSports.com's Damon Martin. He continued, "the UFC will be making an announcement this week I'm pretty sure."
The UFC has been slow to book fights in recent months, so there are a few big openings in its upcoming events. There are currently no bouts attached to UFC 198, currently scheduled for April 23 in New York City, and the same goes for March's UFC 197.
If Holm doesn't get penciled in for a rematch with Rousey at UFC 200, both of those cards would be strong candidates for Holm vs. Tate or Holm vs. Nunes. Keep an eye out over the coming days to see if either of those fights gets announced.