Holly Holm has no business facing Ronda Rousey yet.
The UFC knows this. Hardcore MMA fans know this.
So, why dub the UFC’s plan for January 2nd to feature Ronda Rousey (13-0) vs. Holly Holm (9-0) as “brilliant”?
Casual fans who are entranced by Rousey’s dominance and mainstream appeal will be coaxed in. The UFC will hype this underwhelming-to-hardcore-fans fight up phenomenally. They’ll get Joe Rogan to exaggerate and add to the hype machine by starting off promos talking about Rousey’s dominance, her recent TKO/KO wins over Sara McMann (February 2014), Alexis Davis (July 2014) and Bethe Correia (August 2015) and how advanced her striking is decent only starting the sport just a little over four years ago. They’ll, then, tout Holly Holm’s undefeated MMA record, describe how she is a former 18-time world champion in three weight classes in boxing, how she’ll be “Rousey’s toughest test to date” (bullshit) and question whether Ronda will have the guts to stand and bang with Holm, or if Holm will test “Ronda’s jaw”. Oh boy! Y’know what will happen after the UFC markets this puppy?
Casual fans will flip their lids. “My oh my!”, they’ll say. “Can Ronda beat another undefeated fighter!? She’s dominant!”
Money, money, money for the UFC. Publicity out the ass. Rousey, outside of Conor McGregor, is currently the UFC’s biggest cash cow. She gets people talking. I’m fine with that. She’s a fantastic role model for girls and young women interested in pursuing mixed martial arts, and that’s great. She appeals to a wide audience because she’s a badass who has a 100% finish rate in her fights.
But Holm has no business standing in the octagon with Rousey. Her accomplishments in boxing is irrelevant. As for her record in MMA, she has a 28% striking accuracy as well as a low strike defense. She’s merely fought twice in the UFC. In February, she defeated Raquel Pennington by split decision (that could’ve went either way) in an insanely underwhelming debut. (Jitters to blame?) She then fought Marion Reneau last month; she looked better, but at the same time she didn’t impress. Now she’s earning a title shot based purely on her boxing record and the fact that she’s an undefeated challenger to Rousey.
Here’s the kicker: she has no ground game whatsoever. Sure, Holm has showed that she’s proficient at keeping the distance and some range between her and opponents, but Ronda will close that distance, toss her 18-time boxing champion ass to the mat and take her arm.
Hey UFC, do whatever it takes to make Cyborg Justino vs. Rousey happen. Please. I have no doubt in my mind that Rousey can and will defeat Cyborg, but it’s the fight any and every fan wants to see.