Holly Holm questions long-term viability of featherweight division, comments Kayla Harrison who could join UFC


Holly Holm has competed at featherweight three times in her UFC career, including a pair of title fights, but that doesn’t make her more excited to return to 145 pounds.

Before a knee injury that kept him from fighting, Holm was initially scheduled for a featherweight fight against Norma Dumont in October. The match was a necessity after Holm became frustrated with a long list of potential opponents who either turned down fights or showed a lack of interest in facing him at 135 pounds.

According to Holm, this is how almost every fight at 145 pounds has been in her UFC career, which is why she never really considered herself a featherweight.

“When I was fighting at featherweight, that was usually the case,” Holm explained while speaking to MMA Fighting. “I’m always open to any fight and that’s why I grabbed it, but if there’s another opportunity that makes more sense, that’s what I’m going to grab.

“Because, I mean, yeah, there’s a featherweight belt, but you never know what’s going to happen.”

The Featherweight Division was originally formed at the UFC in 2017, primarily to find a home for Cris Cyborg, who has been recognized time and time again as one of the best female mixed martial artists of all time.

Cyborg eventually became champion, but then lost the title to Amanda Nunes after “The Lioness” surprised the MMA world with a 51-second knockout. Nunes has continued to defend the 145-pound belt two more times, but the competition currently available to him is somewhere between thin and zero.

Right now, Nunes seems focused on her bantamweight career after losing that title to Julianna Pena in one of the biggest upheavals in UFC 269 history. on the back burner, which is why Holm would rather just focus on fighting at 135 pounds, the weight class she sees as her true home in mixed martial arts.

“Yes [Nunes is] will fight right away, will she come back for the rematch? It’s going to be 135 [pounds] anyway, ”Holm said. “What’s the angle at 145?” What would I really go for?

“That’s why I want to focus on 135 – which, anyway, is where I like to be. This is my weight class. Yes I fought at 145 because I’m open to both because I want to fight. But it makes more sense for me to fight at 135. “

While the UFC has failed to expand the featherweight division beyond a few fighters over the past four years, there has been interest in potentially bringing at least one top fighter competing to 145 pounds. .

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and back-to-back PFL champion Kayla Harrison is currently exploring free agency. UFC President Dana White has confirmed the promotion’s interest in her.

Harrison primarily competed at lightweight during his career, but fought at 145 pounds. It would likely become her only weight class if she eventually signed with the UFC.

Like any other fighter considering their options, Holm would welcome someone as talented as Harrison to the UFC ranks, but she still can’t help but wonder if even his arrival would change UFC’s plans. for the long-term featherweight division.

“Doesn’t Kayla fight at 155?” It should even go down to 145, ”said Holm. “You have a big ’45er [in Harrison] and ’35ers who might want to come maybe. There is always that. I don’t know what they plan to do with her coming, if she comes.

“I just think we’ll have to see how it goes. If she really wants to come and fight at 45, if it’s something that she thinks she can do or not, I’m not sure.

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