Holly Holm is receiving some sound advice from her respected veteran mixed martial arts trainers about the challenge of trying to defeat Ronda Rousey.
She’s also getting extra, unsolicited opinions from others within earshot, such as the people who have suggested that she “watch out for that bar thing.”
Former world-champion boxer Holm (9-0 in MMA) will fight Rousey (12-0) for the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight title Nov. 14 in Melbourne, Australia.
Holm has known since her 2014 signing with UFC that this bout was coming, and she’s known before then about Rousey’s skill in applying the armbar, which the Venice fighter has used to finish three of her six title defenses.
More than that, Rousey told reporters last week she believes contenders such as Holm aren’t fit to withstand the pressures that accompany the role of being a champion.
Holm, appearing at a luncheon in Los Angeles in Monday, said Rousey’s comment “doesn’t really mean a lot.
“So she’s basically saying, ‘If I win...,’ so she’s got that thought in her head, which is awesome,” Holm, 34, said. “With a win, I’ll be able to handle it. The win is what I care about.”
Holm boasts a one-inch reach advantage over Rousey, saying she’s working on “an open-ended plan,” and will “adjust along the way.
“I don’t know how much she really wants to box,” Holm said. “She’s improved a lot ... but everyone has their go-to ... natural habits. I expect her to come hard.”
Holm said her trainers, who work with former light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and previously trained UFC great Georges St-Pierre, “are awesome. Their confidence in me gives me confidence. They have been around so many big fights. They’re serious with you. I’m glad. I don’t want them to sugar-coat anything. They’re confident in me, but they also want to make sure they’re helping me to prepare.
“I feel bad when I watch a fight when the fighter’s clearly losing a fight, and the trainers say, ‘Good round, good round.’ That isn’t going to help them win the fight. What are you watching? Don’t tell me I’m winning if I’m not winning.”
She hasn’t been on her back in her two UFC fights successfully defending five takedown attempts, while landing all 109 of her significant strikes while standing.
“Do I want to go in and say, ‘I’m going to go in and hip-toss you because I’ve been working on that?’” Holm said. “Why would I want to do what she’s best at? I don’t necessarily want to go out of my way for that, but I know I have confidence in my training to be OK in those situations if they arise.”