Just minutes after pulling off what UFC commentator Joe Rogan called the biggest upset in UFC history over the most dominant woman in the history of combat sports, Holly Holm was asked how she pulled off the impossible.
Holm thought back a few moments, to her walk out to the Octagon, her emotions swirling, and explained how she was able to stay composed.
“I kept telling myself, ‘It’s right now. Don’t get too relaxed. Be confident in your training and be confident in yourself. Now is the time to perform.’ And I just kept running that through my head,” Holm said of her game plan against the previously unbeaten Ronda Rousey.
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Confidence was the theme of the week for Holm, who seemed unfazed by the circus – media and otherwise – that followed Rousey.
Holm had an unwavering belief in her preparation and training - and it showed - as she stayed calm no matter where the fight went. In the clinch, on the ground – Holm even pulled off a takedown against Rousey – Holm dictated the pace of the fight and let Rousey be the aggressor.
“I feel like she was aggressive and the first round was really active. It was nothing different than we expected,” Holm said. “She’s been able to win in devastating fashion because she’s been able to impose her will on a lot of girls. I expect her to be aggressive and try to impose her will on me. I wasn’t surprised.”
The finishing sequence played out like a movie, with Holm landing a shattering head kick before pouncing on Rousey to force a TKO stoppage.
“I visualized if the head kick was there to go for it,” Holm said. “But we didn’t want to go out of our way searching for it. I didn’t want to force it. If it was there I wanted to take it, and it was there.”
Now that Holm has secured the championship her journey is just beginning. She said she has a lot more to accomplish and that this historic victory is only the beginning.
But this triumph, this accomplishment, is to be celebrated. Holm said that these are the moments she lives for.
“They’re the scariest moments. This fight was a lot for me mentally. I couldn’t tell you how many times I cried in the gym leading up to this fight,” Holm said. “It was a lot to take in, but those are the kind of fights where a loss is that devastating but a win is that sweet of a victory.”
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC