Holm: Rousey Wasn’t Mentally Ready

Few fighters know Ronda Rousey better than Holly Holm. The first woman to defeat Rousey, Holm was watching closely when Rousey returned against current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. Before Rousey even stepped into the cage, though, Holm saw red flags.

Holm spoke to MMA Fighting ahead of her UFC 208 fight with Germaine de Randamie, which will be contested for the inaugural women’s featherweight championship. She took note of Ronda Rousey’s refusal to do media ahead of UFC 207, and that made her begin to question her former foe’s mental state.

“I was a little worried about her mental game getting in there,” Holm said. “I know a lot of people said ‘no MMA media, none of that’, because she didn’t want any distractions. Well, I really hate to do all of it, but guess what, that’s what comes with the fight, and if I didn’t do it, I don’t even think I would be ready for the fight.”

Since beating Rousey, Holm has had a tough run. She lost her title at UFC 196 to Miesha Tate and then dropped a unanimous decision loss to Valentina Shevchenko.

But Holm, unlike Rousey, did not shy away from her defeats, even her shocking and brutal last-minute loss to Tate at one of the biggest events in the sport’s history. To Holm, having the comfortability to acknowledge a loss is key to moving forward as a fighter.

“If you can’t even talk about it, if you can’t even be doing the normal thing leading up, I don’t think you’re really ready to get in there and actually fight. If you can’t really talk about it, how are you gonna get in and perform on it?

“I’m kind of a believer in that. I feel like you have to be able to kind of face it, and sometimes I think if you’re trying to ignore those facts, I feel like the focus really isn’t there. So I was kind of worried if she gets in, is she really gonna be ready to just go, when she hasn’t really had to talk about it or face it or really get into it in that way.”

Holm will look to wear gold again despite a tough 2016, as she fights for the featherweight title on Feb. 11 in Brooklyn.

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