She’s been down this road three times.
But tonight, in many ways, is the beginning for Holly Holm.
Tonight is the first time “The Preacher’s Daughter” steps into the octagon as a full-time professional mixed-martial arts fighter since retiring as a 14-time, three-division world champion boxer in May.
“I have no regrets at all,” said Holm, who has knocked opponents out in her three previous MMA fights. “I can’t complain at all. I’m really focused on my new chapter now and really focused on this fight.”
Holm (3-0, 3 KOs) makes her Legacy Fighting Championship debut in Legacy 21 in Houston against Allana Jones (2-2, 1 KO).
“Holly is doing what she did with boxing,” said Greg Jackson, one of her coaches at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA along with her primary coach throughout her world champion boxing career, Mike Winkeljohn.
“She’s really studying all the elements. She’s working on her wrestling, working on her jiu-jitsu, working on the ground and pound. I see great things from Holly. She’s an incredible athlete. She has a lot of experience competing already. She has a good mind for winning. She figures out ways to win.”
Holm said she is focused now on climbing the same mountain in MMA as she did in the world of boxing to one day become a world champion.
But, she stresses, it’s all about patience at this stage of the game. She must avoid the temptation to try to become a world champion in MMA just because she’s spent so much of her boxing life as one.
“I need to take the right steps – training and competing,” Holm said. “I don’t want to overtrain, trying to do to catch up feeling like I have to get caught up to the game. I don’t want to do so much with the hard workouts that I’m not worrying about technique, and I don’t want to do so much technique that I’m not pushing myself.”
Still, the endgame for Holm, who weighed in Thursday at 135.5 pounds to Jones’ 138.5, is a potential UFC bantamweight fight with world champion Ronda Rousey after Holm’s four-fight Legacy contract expires.
That, her coach agrees, is way down the road.
“She’s the one that will tell you,” Jackson says, ” ‘I need to work more on my ground. I need to work more on my wrestling.’ But when she gets the hang of it, I think she’s going to be a champion.”
As for regrets about leaving that 33-2-3 (9 KOs) boxing record behind after her May win over Mary McGee, Holm says she hasn’t had any.
“Honestly, if it had been a loss,” Holm says of her boxing finale, “I would have been like, ‘Nope. I’m not going out like that.’ … But even in the middle of the emotion of the fight and in the locker room afterward, no regrets.”