Her eye is fine. She’s not retiring. What, then, is next for Holly Holm?
Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s longtime promoter/manager/agent, said that after discussions with the UFC he hopes to have the Albuquerque MMA fighter back in the Octagon by May or June.
Against whom or in what weight class, Fresquez said, remains to be determined.
In any case, he said, Holm — despite her Dec. 30 loss to Cris “Cyborg” Justino for the UFC featherweight title and despite four losses in her past five fights — remains a hot property in the UFC women’s ranks.
“Holly is still the (biggest) draw in the women’s divisions, any of them and all of them,” Fresquez said on Wednesday in a phone interview. “You can add Cyborg, Amanda (Nunes, the UFC bantamweight champion) and the two No. 1 challengers together, and they still don’t have as many fans as Holly does.”
To those on social media, in the Journal’s Sports Speakup column and elsewhere who have expressed concern about the punishment Holm, 36, absorbed in the Cyborg fight — notably the gruesome swelling around her left eye — Fresquez said he’s concerned as well. But the answer, he believes, lies in better execution of a fight plan and not in retirement.
“I’ll be the first one to tell Holly to retire when I feel that she’s declining, and/or at risk,” he said. “Yeah, she did take some punches that I wasn’t too happy with, but she fought one of the best female athletes in the world.”
Holm (11-4) wants a rematch with Cyborg, Fresquez said. Toward that end, he would prefer Holm’s next fight be made at the 145-pound featherweight limit rather than at bantamweight (135), at which six of her eight UFC fights have been contested.
That’s problematical, since the UFC has no active featherweight division.
The UFC is pushing for a Cyborg-Nunes fight, but Cyborg is resisting — not wanting, she says, to fight a fellow Brazilian. Cyborg also has expressed dissatisfaction with the UFC’s apparent lack of interest in the featherweight division, saying she might opt for another organization after her three-fight UFC commitment is fulfilled.
In the meantime, Fresquez said, he’ll weigh what the UFC offers, at either 145 or 135, and then decide.
“We’ll see,” he said. “(Holm is) still in the driver’s seat, as far as I’m concerned.”
BOXING: Two pro boxing cards have been scheduled for the first quarter of the new year.
On Jan. 27, Santa Fe’s Pat Holmes will promote a show at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino in Pojoaque.
Seven bouts are scheduled, with three six-rounders topping the card. They are:
Antonio “Tone” Martinez (8-3-4, six KOs), Española, vs. Gene Perez (2-10-1, no KOs), Belen, welterweights.
Manuel Eastman (2-5-1, one KO), Los Lunas, vs. Frank Sanchez Faure (1-0, one KO), Guantanamo, Cuba, heavyweights.
Jose Osorio (9-3-1, four KOs), Albuquerque, vs. Derek Perez (1-7, one KO), Belen, lightweights.
Legacy Promotions, headed by brothers Jordan and Aaron Perez, has scheduled a card for March 17 at Route 66 Casino Hotel.
Albuquerque welterweight Josh Torres (16-6-2, eight KOs) will fight the main event against an opponent yet to be selected, Jordan Perez said via text. The card also will mark the pro debut of Aaron Angel Perez, one of the state’s best amateur boxers of recent years.
THE AMATEURS: USA Boxing’s Western Elite Qualifier and Regional Open will return to the Albuquerque Convention Center for a second year on March 4-10. Registration has begun. For information, log onto teamusa.org or call USA Boxing at 719-866-2307.
PHILLY FIGHTERS: Torres and fellow Albuquerquean Hector Muñoz spent the first two weeks of the New Year in Philadelphia, serving as sparring partners for former WBC welterweight champion Danny Swift Garcia in preparation for his Feb. 17 fight against Brandon Rios in Las Vegas., Nev.
Muñoz (25-19-1, 17 KOs) was to have fought Josesito Lopez (35-7) on a Feb. 10 card in San Antonio, Texas, but the event has been postponed.