Feature | Mar 04 2016

LONG READ Holly Holm and the long road to defeating Ronda Rousey

Holly Holm is so much more than just the woman who beat Ronda Rousey, writes Thomas Gerbasi
holly holm
holly-holm  |  Matt Roberts/USA Today Sports

HOLLY HOLM paced back and forth in the Octagon placed in the middle of Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. From one side to the other, she paced, fast, steady, almost robot-like.

Over 56,000 people had shown up to see Holm face Ronda Rousey for the UFC women’s bantamweight title on November 15, more fans than had ever seen “The Preacher’s Daughter” fight in a boxing ring, where she won multiple titles in three weight classes and reigned atop the pound-for-pound list for much of her 11-year career.

But this was a new arena, both literally and figuratively, and Holm was about to face a mixed martial arts juggernaut who had won her previous three fights in a combined 64 seconds. Rousey was the new Mike Tyson, and Holm was apparently Frank Bruno making the sign of the cross over and over as he was led to slaughter in his 1996 rematch with “Iron” Mike.