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Holly Holm on divorce, ‘challenge of my life’

Holly Holm opened up a bit about her recent divorce in an interview with Ariel Helwani of ESPN. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

The price of fame isn’t something Holly Holm was eager to pay. But, she said on Monday, she knows how the world works.

In a 19-minute interview with espn.com’s Ariel Helwani, the Albuquerque combat-sports icon spent approximately half that time discussing having filed for divorce from husband Jeff Kirkpatrick.

Holm filed her petition on Jan. 3. The story was first reported by TMZ on Jan. 12. The Journal published a story online on Jan. 13 and in the print edition on Jan. 14. Several other online outlets have published stories, as well.

Though she never intended her divorce petition to go public, Holm told Helwani, she was neither surprised nor concerned that it did.

“We’d kind of put it in for it to be a sealed case, just because I’m in the public eye and my husband has a family business locally,” she said. “… We put in that we wanted it sealed, and they didn’t (do so), which is fine with me.

“I’m one of those (people) that’s always been an open book. I’m not trying to go through life acting like everything’s perfect. I’m not trying to go through my life pretending like nothing’s going on when it is.”

In the interview with Helwani, Holm did not reveal any details about why her almost seven-year marriage is apparently coming to an end. But she said, as noted in the petition, that she and Kirkpatrick had not lived under the same roof for almost a year.

“Maybe I’ll open up more about it later, I’m not really sure,” she said. “But there’s a lot of things I’ve been dealing with for quite some time, a very long time, and now I’m free of it.”

Holm said she has refused to feel sorry for herself.

“Every single one of us who fights has a personal life, and who knows what’s going on?” she said. “I’m going through a divorce, and somebody else might be going through losing their mom from cancer, or somebody else might be going through maybe (dealing with) a loved one who’s a drug addict.

“I’m not going to sit here and say that I’ve had this hard go and all that. It’s definitely been the challenge of my life and definitely something I’ve really learned from.”

Holm said her father, Roger Holm, has always told her, “You’re in control of your own happiness. … Of course, life’s gonna give you something that’s gonna make it a little harder. There’s gonna be challenges. … That doesn’t mean I haven’t had some hurdles to overcome and some struggles.

“But I want to choose happiness.”

Holm and Helwani did, in fact, talk a little bit about MMA.

Of her scheduled March 2 fight in Las Vegas, Nev., on UFC 235 against Californian Aspen Ladd (7-0), Holm (12-4) said she sees a young opponent who’s looking to make a name for herself with a high-profile victory.

“I think undefeated and young fighters are the biggest threat to take, because they feel like they have everything ahead of them,” she said. “… I definitely feel this is a very tough fight. I’m not taking (Ladd) lightly at all.”

Holm hopes a win over Ladd would lead to a UFC bantamweight title fight against champion Amanda Nunes. But, she said, “I always say one fight at a time, because you’re never promised another day.

“So as far as I’m concerned, my timeline just goes to March 2, and then after that we’ll see what happens.”

Holm underwent surgery in early September to repair a torn meniscus that had been bothering her for more than two years.

“I’ve been training with a bad knee for a while, and then finally I just had an issue in training that sent it over the edge,” she said. “Now, it’s great.”

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