Holly Holm might be the best challenger to Ronda Rousey's Ultimate Fighting Championship supremacy. Holm is a former professional boxer and kickboxer who is undefeated after seven mixed martial arts fights.
"I have a lot of respect for Ronda and her well-rounded game … judo comes second-nature for her," Holm told the Los Angeles Times on Friday in a telephone interview. "But I think there are things in my favor, too. I've been in a lot of battles in boxing, gaining valuable ring time.
"It won't be my first time being an underdog and it won't be my first time in a big fight, and I think the mental part is a big part of this sport."
Holm, 32, is nearing full recovery after breaking her left arm in her most recent fight, when she claimed her sixth MMA knockout with a head kick and punches to defeat Juliana Werner by fifth-round technical knockout in April.
On Thursday, five days after Rousey's 16-second technical knockout of No. 2 UFC bantamweight contender Alexis Davis at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White signed Holm to a multifight contract.
"I've been conditioning, running, and I think I can fight again by the end of October … November, for sure," Holm said. "I don't have a lot to do to get ready.
"I don't think they'll throw me right to the wolves, but I'll never say no to a fight."
White said he would probably give Holm a first bout against someone other than Rousey before a showdown that Rousey herself has said she wants.
While Rousey's strength in judo as a former Olympic bronze medalist has helped her win eight of 10 MMA fights by armbar submission, Holm has complemented her striking prowess -- she was 33-2-3 as a boxer -- with training by famed MMA coach Mike Winkeljohn in New Mexico.
"I'm focused on every girl in the UFC, I don't want to get fixated on one fight," Holm said. "I feel like I come in with something different. I've been in some crazy places in boxing 10-round fights. There's a confidence that comes from that. I have a lot of fights under my belt.