First, it’s important to know that “lunatic” is one of Dana White’s favorite non-curse words. He uses it often, sometimes as a compliment, sometimes as an insult.
In his use of the L-word last week, the colorful UFC president clearly wasn’t paying Albuquerque’s Lenny Fresquez a compliment. Still, for Holly Holm’s promoter, there probably are worse things than being called a lunatic by White.
At least he has the big guy’s attention.
On Dec. 6, after Holm’s victory by unanimous decision over Angela Hayes at Route 66 Casino Hotel, Fresquez was interviewed by the MMA website Sherdog.com. He said he had talked with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby about Holm, but said money and competition were stumbling blocks to their working together.
Holm, Fresquez said, already makes more money per fight ($30,000 to $40,000 per outing, he said) than all but a select few female fighters and the vast majority of male fighters. He added he would like to have Holm, 32, challenge UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey sooner than later.
“We’re looking for six figures,” Fresquez said.
When Fresquez’s comments were relayed to White by Fox Sports, he derided not Holm, but her experience in the cage and the quality of her competition in achieving a 6-0 record.
And, of course, her promoter.
“The girl hasn’t fought anybody, and they’re talking about this stuff,” White said.
Fresquez? “He’s a lunatic.”
Well, there’s this: It would be lunacy to suggest Holm is ready for Rousey. Fresquez isn’t saying that, but he believes – because of Holm’s talent and previous athletic background – that day is not as far away as it might be for other female MMA fighters six fights into a career.
Rousey is a mere 7-0, but her seven opponents have a 65-24 record. Holm’s six victims are a combined 23-25.
“There’s no doubt we want to go to the UFC at the right time,” Fresquez told Sherdog. “… (But) I would say that the UFC doesn’t have anybody but maybe five girls that could really give Holly competition. So we’re just waiting for them to give us the right opportunity to fight Ronda Rousey, because we want a title fight.”
Mike Winkeljohn, Holm’s manager and primary coach, believes his fighter has almost unlimited potential – perhaps more in MMA than in boxing, the sport in which she won world titles at three weight classes in five organizations.
In boxing, Winkeljohn said, Holm could use only her gloved hands with only her opponent’s upper body as a target.
In kickboxing, the opponent’s entire body is fair game. Not only can Holm hurt an opponent with powerful kicks, Winkeljohn said, her exceptional footwork enables her to deliver blows from different angles with both hands and feet.
“There are just so many more openings,” Winkeljohn said. “She can use all kinds of crazy distractions and unpredictable moves that cause chaos in everybody’s minds, and (opponents) can’t stop her.”
Then, there’s the ground – Rousey territory. Rousey, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo, has won all seven of her fights by arm bar.
How does Holm get match experience in the ground game without going there? How does she go to the ground without exposing her inexperience?
Holm did go to the ground against Hayes, and the Colorado Springs fighter appeared close at one point to securing a chokehold. Anxious moments?
“A little bit,” Winkeljohn admitted. “But Holly got back into good position, and we were fine.”
Regarding her ground game, Holm said: “I need to really just kind of believe in myself. … It was great to go to the ground a little bit (against Hayes), and I felt all right being there.
“A little bit at a time, you know, learn as I go.”
NEXT UP: Fresquez said Brazil’s Juliana Werner (7-3) has agreed in principle to face Holm here, probably March 15 at Route 66 in a five-round Legacy FC bantamweight title fight.
A GREAT CAUSE: On Thursday, Jackson-Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts presented a check worth more than $13,000 to Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy Robin Hopkins.
Hopkins is rehabbing from serious injuries suffered in a shooting Oct. 26.
Greg Jackson, co-owner with Winkeljohn, said no one at the gym knew Hopkins before the shooting.
“Just, after reading and hearing about it, I was kind of wanting to lend a hand a little bit,” Jackson said. “When you read about that stuff and remember what these guys and gals (in law enforcement) have to deal with all the time, I just thought it was nice just to give a little back.”
The money, he said, was raised “the old fashioned way. We just got out and told everybody it’s a great cause and went from there.”