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MMA: Holm has heart set on rematch with Tate or Rousey

For Holly Holm, there is a new uncertainty.

This is not the uncertainty of winning or losing, something she’s dealt with for years, but of not knowing when or against whom the next fight will be.

Is she OK with that? By no means. Yet, she accepts this as a consequence of her March 5 loss to Miesha Tate and of her UFC bantamweight title.

Now, all she can do is wait.

And work.

And hope.

Throughout her decade-long professional boxing career, Holm was able to plan on fighting three or four times per year. When she lost to Anne Sophie Mathis in 2011, she knew, as per her contract, that she would get a rematch. Lenny Fresquez, her Albuquerque promoter, saw to all that.

Now, as an MMA fighter, Holm is under contract to the UFC – by far the most powerful organization in the sport. The Albuquerque native wants a rematch with Tate, or with Ronda Rousey, whom Holm defeated in November.

Fresquez, no longer her promoter but now her agent, is working hard on her behalf to secure one of those two fights. But there is no guarantee.

“This one’s definitely a little more out of my hands,” Holm said Wednesday, speaking at a news conference held to formally announce a Saturday MMA card involving several of her Jackson-Wink MMA teammates. “(In boxing), I knew that Lenny would give me the opportunity as long as I wanted it. This is a whole different situation.

“I really want that rematch, but I’m not the one with the title now. I’m not the one with the belt. So I have to be patient and wait for that opportunity to come.”

Fresquez said he has touched base with UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta on the matter.

“Miesha was in Australia on vacation, so they were supposed to get with her this week,” Fresquez said. “Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks we’ll know.

“But whether it’s Miesha or Ronda, those are the fights we’re interested in.”

Dana White, UFC’s president, has said Tate-Rousey is the fight he wants to make. White has made no secret of his fondness for Rousey.

If that happens, would Holm be willing to stay out of the octagon for an extended period and fight the winner of Rousey-Tate?

“(Fighting Rousey or Tate) is pretty much what Holly wants to do,” Fresquez said. “If they have something else, it’s my job to present it to her. I’ve made her wishes known to them.”

Fresquez said Holm was offered a fight with Cris Cyborg, the Strikeforce and Invicta champion who will make her UFC debut on May 14 in her native Brazil. Fresquez, on Holm’s behalf, turned down the offer. Cyborg will face Leslie Smith instead.

The Cyborg-Smith fight is at a “catch weight” of 140 pounds, five pounds above the bantamweight limit.

“We were not interested in that right now,” Fresquez said. “(Holm) just wants to fight Miesha.”

Holm, though, said she’s not in a position to flatly reject a fight against someone other than Tate or Rousey.

“Right now, what’s on my heart is the rematch,” she said. “(But) I don’t necessarily want to be too picky, either. I’m the one coming off a loss. I can’t expect to have everything handed to me, so we’ll see what happens.”

SANCHEZ ON UFC 200: Albuquerque welterweight Diego Sanchez will face Joe Lauzon (25-11) on UFC 200 on July 9, it was announced Wednesday.

The appearance of Sanchez (26-8) on a historic UFC event seems appropriate, since the former Del Norte state champion wrestler is a historic figure in the UFC. He won the first-ever The Ultimate Fighter competition in 2005.

It has been reported that middleweight Derek Brunson, Sanchez’s Jackson-Wink teammate, also will fight on UFC 200. Trainer Mike Winkeljohn on Wednesday said he could confirm Sanchez’s spot on the card but not Brunson’s.

It was formally announced Wednesday that a rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will headline UFC 200. Diaz upset McGregor by second-round submission (rear naked choke) on March 5.

RUMBLE ON ROUTE 66: Jackson-Wink featherweight Conrad Padilla (5-2) will face Oklahoma transplant Chevy Bridges (4-1) in the main event of Saturday’s card at Route 66 Casino Hotel. Bridges trains at FIT-NHB.

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