We all saw what happened at UFC 193 when Holly Holm completely dominated Ronda Rousey, all culminating in the knockout kick heard around the world - silencing the entire nation (and world?) for a brief moment.
None of us expected this to happen when the two faced:
Many people at the time could never contemplate the idea that Miesha Tate would possibly be a tougher opponent to the then-abominable Rousey, but she has proven (at least according to Holm) to be just that.
Here's what Holm had to say on The MMA Hour about her opponent at UFC 196 in Las Vegas:
"She's gritty. That makes it hard to make a clean fight. It's hard to control that type of a fight. Her strength is her grittiness, for sure."
Holm (10-0) might be a significant favorite against Tate, compared to when she was a massive underdog against Rousey. But this is a different kind of feeling. "The Preacher's Daughter" believes she needs to cement herself as champion here. What would it really mean if she beat Rousey, but then dropped the belt in her very next fight?
"Now there's pressure that I don't want to be this one-hit wonder. I want to be able to show another performance. And in a lot of ways, this is a tougher fight for me. A different fight, just tougher in different areas, obviously."
Holly Holm probably put more pressure on herself than the rest of us did when she faced Rousey. She knew she could win, and she trained hard to make it happen. This time, though, she faces the added pressure of fighting as a champion.
"I feel like there's pressure that I put on myself regardless. My last fight, was you know what, nobody thinks I can do it, but I think I can. I was telling everybody I believed I could do it. The pressure was, I didn't want to be a liar. I wanted to prove to people that I was really feeling that way for a reason."
Ronda Rousey has defeated Tate twice before, but that doesn't mean it will translate to any easy win for Holm. And she knows that.
"She's down for the grind, for sure... If you land a good shot, you don't want to assume that's going to be the end of the fight. You need to stay focused. She waits for the mistake. She's in there. She's in there physically and mentally to keep up with the grind. They can even make the fight look messy."
Holm's win over Rousey was about as thorough and decisive as you could possibly make it. She pummeled Rousey with left hands and elbows, and of course that head kick was perfectly timed and well executed. It's difficult to imagine Tate ever taking Holm lightly after that, though. Which is why it's important for Holm to give it her all and bring her A-Game.
"Emotions are different for this fight, because this is a different fighter. This is a different fight. But that doesn't mean I haven't had emotional days in the gym. It doesn't mean I haven't cried in my car. It's just different."
What do you think?
Will Holly Holm hold on to her belt at UFC 196 this Saturday?