MMA: No grace for the Preacher's Daughter

MMA fighters Holly Holm (left) and Bethe Correia face off before their main event in UFC Fight Night Singapore.
MMA fighters Holly Holm (left) and Bethe Correia face off before their main event in UFC Fight Night Singapore.PHOTO COURTESY OF UFC

Holly Holm has denied she feels any pressure to win her bantamweight bout against Bethe Correia in the main event of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Night Singapore tomorrow.

Since making headlines by sensationally ending Ronda Rousey's unbeaten run and bagging the bantamweight belt in 2015, Holm has been on a three-match losing skid.

But the 35-year-old American is determined to prove that she is still a force to be reckoned with in the UFC. And a victory in her first visit to Singapore could give her career a second wind.

"Those losses were frustrating, very heartbreaking," she said, referring to defeats by Germaine de Randamie, Valentina Shevchenko, and Miesha Tate.

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"There was a lot of negativity and doubt. But I can choose to be down on myself on these three losses and sulk about it at home all day, or I can say I don't want any more losses.

"I know I'm 35 and there's a second mountain I'm climbing.

"But I'm still passionate about it, I've got to where I am because I love MMA (mixed martial arts). The only cure for my losses is a victory.

"One fight makes all the difference in the world (to earn another title shot), I know it can happen like this," added Holm, while snapping her fingers.

Perhaps it is because of her family background that Holm, nicknamed "The Preacher's Daughter", has learnt to deal with the weight of expectations.

She said: "It's a factual statement, of my upbringing as a preacher's child, not because I think I'm better than others. I'm so imperfect but it helps me to be thankful and humble. I grew up in an environment where everyone has an opinion and their eyeballs (are) on you. It has prepared me a lot for my career."

One person who will not show any grace towards Holm is her Brazilian opponent.

The all-rounder will be looking to target Holm's weakness - her grappling - given that the American was a former boxer and kick-boxer.

Correia, 33, said: "Holly has a tough mentality but I think three losses are serious issues to deal with. I don't know if she loses again after this fight (whether) she will retire or keep fighting. But if I win, I deserve a title shot."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2017, with the headline 'No grace for the Preacher's Daughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe