Holly Holm is ready and willing to fight UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg as soon as possible – she just wants to make sure all the terms are correct, specifically when it comes to financial compensation.
There are many fighters unwilling to face Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who has been one of the most dominant figures in the sport over her more than 12-year undefeated run. Ex-champ Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) is not only of them, but she knows a bout the magnitude of one against the Brazilian is worthy of a significant deal.
“I don’t get too nitpicky with a lot of stuff,” Holm told MMAjunkie. “I don’t want to be a whiny fighter. She better make weight, I’ll tell you that. I do feel like the compensation should be a lot more, based on the fact it’s the biggest girls fight anyone can have right now; that’s my reasoning. I feel like we should be compensated for it. That has nothing else to do with anything else other than it’s just a factual thing. That has nothing to do with the drama or anything else.”
Holm is coming off a third-round knockout of Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 111. The victory snapped a three-fight losing skid for the former women’s 135-pound titleholder, one of which included a unanimous decision defeat to Germaine de Randamie for the inaugural women’s featherweight belt at UFC 208 in February.
Cyborg, meanwhile, claimed the vacant 145-pound belt that was stripped from de Randamie when she defeated Tonya Evinger by third-round TKO at UFC 214 in July. There was immediate talk of a bout with Holm afterward, and UFC President Dana White said “The Preacher’s Daughter” was interested in the fight at the UFC 214 post-fight press conference.
Holm said she’s not going to wait forever for it to happen, though.
“It’s a big possibility,” Holm said. “There’s been a couple times we’ve talked about it before. We’ve talked about a catchweight which he didn’t want to do. That was before they opened the 145-pound division. … If the fight with Cyborg is offered, then I’m going to sign it. If not, then whoever they give me. I don’t want my career to be defined by one fight. Everyone was talking about the Ronda (Rousey) fight, and then what? There’s still a whole career that’s always still out there. I’m not going to sit around waiting for one. If the opportunity comes, then that’s great.”
One of the sticking points for most fighters when it comes to Cyborg is a concern about her history with drug testing. She flunked a test in December 2011 while competing under the now-defunct Strikeforce organization and also had a brief hiccup with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in December, a case where she was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
Holm has historically taken a hard stance against performance-enhancing drugs, but she said Cyborg’s past isn’t of great concern.
“A lot of the girls have their reason to not really want to fight her,” Holm said. “She got the violation before (in 2011). I don’t know. My thing is: I don’t want to touch it. I don’t want to have any enhancers. I just want to know if I got somewhere, it was from hard work. That, in turn, keeps me more mentally strong. Whatever other people do is their own thing. It should definitely be a clean sport. She says she’s clean now, but no matter what I’m capable of winning that fight off of hard work. I’m still open to fighting her no matter what.”
Cyborg has addressed a potential fight with Holm many times on social media since UFC 214. She said she wants the matchup to take place at the year-end UFC 219 event in December, but has also accused Holm of using her name to raise her profile and receive greater compensation. Holm said she’s not interested in engaging in a war of words.
“I don’t really care what Cyborg says,” Holm said. “She’s had a lot to say lately. I don’t really look into it. I’m just waiting to have a contract sent to me. That’s when the fight’s on, and I’m going to train hard. I’m not into saying who is trying to use who’s name or all this other BS stuff. I don’t get into it.”
With the fullest expectations that her next trip to the octagon will be for an encounter with Cyborg, Holm said she has the utmost confidence she can be the one to snap Cyborg’s incredible 19-fight unbeaten streak.
“I think anybody has a game plan that can be used against them and some kind of weakness,” Holm said. “I can take her out of her element, out of her game. She’s definitely beatable. I’m not going to sit here and say she was impressive or not impressive in her last fight. Styles make a difference and that was a different fight and our fight would be something completely different. I’m ready for it.”
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