Holly Holm Open to Being Amanda Nunes’ Comeback Opponent, Expresses Respect

Holly Holm, former UFC champion, has expressed her openness to a rematch with Amanda Nunes, despite Nunes’ retirement, and is preparing for a fight with two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison at UFC 300 on April 13.

Holly Holm. A name that’s danced with nearly every big shot in her weight class. There’s one legend she wouldn’t mind stepping into the ring with again.

Amanda Nunes, the ex-two-division UFC champ, was spotted at UFC 297 in Toronto. “The Lioness” hasn’t hinted at a comeback, but her presence sparked some chatter. Could she be gearing up for another fight?

Holm was asked about a potential Nunes return on The MMA Hour. A rematch of their UFC 239 bantamweight title fight? Holm’s thoughts?

“Nunes might [come back],” she mused. “When they said, ‘We’ve got a fight for you, trust me, we’ve just got to see,’ I wondered if it’d be Nunes. Would she need a warm-up fight before a title shot if she returned? My coach and I thought, ‘No, probably not.'”

Holm continued, “Then I heard, ‘Did you see something about Nunes maybe coming back?’ I’d thought about it, but I don’t know. She seems to be enjoying her time off. She was pretty active as a double champ. I respect her a lot. She’s fought the top girls. You can’t take anything away from Amanda.”

Nunes defended her title against Holm in July 2019. It was a first-round TKO, the last time Holm vied for a UFC belt. Since then, she’s kept busy, winning three of her last five fights. Her only setbacks? A split decision loss to Ketlen Vieira and a submission loss to Mayra Bueno Silva. The latter was overturned to a no-contest after Silva tested positive for a banned substance for her ADHD.

Holm’s faced some decorated opponents. Nunes, Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, Miesha Tate, Germaine de Randamie, even Raquel Pennington, the newly minted bantamweight champ. Holm’s beaten Pennington twice.

Holm’s willingness to take on tough competition? She credits her boxing days.

“When I first started fighting, I’d see these girls with huge records and get nervous,” Holm admitted. “Then I’d look at who they fought. 2-0, 1-0, 2-0, 1-0, for 12 fights straight, 20 fights straight. I didn’t want to be like that. Those kinds of victories can’t even feel that good. I wanted to fight the best. I didn’t want to be a ‘paper champion.'”

Holm added, “Yes, there’s more risk when you’re fighting the best. I take pride in that. I’ve fought the best while they were at their best. Not after the fact. I want to fight the best when they’re the best. Those are the most nerve-wracking fights, the most intense. You have so much to lose. But I look back at my boxing career and I know I fought all the top girls in their prime. I’m happy about that. Why would I want to do anything different here? I want to take the biggest challenges. I’ve fallen short in some fights, but I still want to believe in myself and take these big fights.”

Holm’s next fight is at UFC 300 on April 13. She’s not backing down.

She’s up against two-time PFL champ and two-time Olympic gold medal-winning judoka Kayla Harrison. It’s Harrison’s UFC debut. Harrison’s the favorite, but that’s just fueling Holm’s fire.

“Being such an underdog gets you—I don’t know, there’s just a different feeling with it,” Holm said. “This fight intrigues me. It’s a new journey, a new page, a new fighter. This could be one of those epic fights in history.”


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