Holly Holm doesn’t want to wait.
And now, it looks like the champ won’t have to.
Despite UFC President Dana White insisting less than one month ago that the Albuquerque mixed martial artist’s next fight would be a rematch with Ronda Rousey at the July 9 UFC 200 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, Nev., he changed course on Wednesday and announced on the Fox Sports 1 television show “UFC Tonight” that Holm will fight somebody else before the highly anticipated rematch. But he didn’t say who or when.
Many assume it will be as early as March against Miesha Tate, who was the top contender to fight Rousey before the UFC instead gave Holm the title shot.
Holm’s longtime manager Lenny Fresquez couldn’t be reached for comment.
Holm, who knocked out Rousey with a vicious head kick at UFC 193 on Nov. 14 in Australia to become the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, has said since the fight that she wants to remain active, as she also did throughout her lengthy world champion boxing career.
Holm has said since her Nov. 14 post-fight interview she wants to give a rematch to Rousey, the previously undefeated champion and worldwide pop culture sensation.
But when it became apparent there was no specific timetable for Rousey’s return — she was given a six month medical suspension for an injured jaw suffered from Holm’s kick and had already scheduled several non-fighting commitments over the next several months — Holm and Fresquez said they wanted to get back in the octagon to fight sooner than July, an approach normally very much welcomed by the UFC.
On Monday’s “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, Holm said, “I just don’t want to wait around for things if they’re not set in stone. A lot of people have been talking about the rematch, but nobody really knows for sure. I haven’t really heard if she really wants it yet or not or if she’s occupied with some other things right now. I think that’s the hardest part for me. … I don’t want to wait around for something that may not happen. I want to be able to fight soon.”
Holm also said she didn’t want to get in trouble by saying who or when her next fight would be, instead leaving that announcement to the UFC, with whom she recently signed a contract extension.
On Dec. 9, White told the Los Angeles Times “it’s Rousey” when asked who Holm would fight next. When told Fresquez didn’t want to sign such a contract, instead allowing Holm to fight again sooner, the Times reported White answered sarcastically, “We’re real concerned with his opinion.”
In the same article, White mentioned he talked with Rousey as often as seven times a day after losing to Holm.
It wasn’t the first time White spoke publicly of his dislike of dealing with Holm’s manager.
In December 2013, during negotiations to sign Holm to the UFC, White called Fresquez a “lunatic” based on some of his demands for his fighter and also at one point suggested the largest MMA fighting promotion wouldn’t ever sign Holm. She was signed after White removed himself from the negotiation.
NBC this week announced that Rousey will host the Jan. 23 episode of Saturday Night Live, becoming the first MMA fighter to do so.
It is unclear if Holm, or maybe even the celebrity doppelganger she’s joked with on social media, Amy Schumer, might make an appearance in a sketch.