Trying to make some sense of Holly Holm as Ronda Rousey’s opponent.
Late last Saturday evening, Alex Goff and I had a conversation which was mostly about pro wrestling, but did segue into a discussion on Holly Holm as Ronda Rousey’s opponent for UFC 195.
On paper, this decision doesn’t make much sense, if any sense. Holly Holm has looked unimpressive in her two UFC fights, though she did win both of them. And a third fight with Miesha Tate seems to be much more marketable simply because of their past.
But I think there are a few reasons why this decision isn’t such a bad one.
Take advantage of Holm’s marketability before it’s gone.
If you remember the days back before Dana White signed Holly Holm, he publicly called her manager a lunatic for thinking Holm’s worth was far higher than what Dana saw as her worth. Them are called negotiations.
We’re not privy to know what Holm makes, but it’s likely that she makes more than most women in the UFC. In order to get the most out of the Holm investment, a Rousey fight was likely. It was more a matter of when, than if.
I do wonder if the thinking is that if Holm loses before the Rousey fight, she becomes just another fighter and one of the keys to marketing her was staying undefeated. By not having her fight any other contenders and going straight to the championship fight, you can still do all of the marketing things you wanted to do with her when you signed her.
If Ronda can win standing…
If she can beat a championship boxer at her own game, that gives Ronda even more of an invincible aura. While I can’t imagine Ronda’s footwork isn’t nearly as good as Holm’s, she does have fast hands and some power, as she showed in knocking out Bethe Correia.
There were some missed punches and non-traditional boxing in that fight short fight. It essentially turned into a brawl immediately. And because of Holm’s experience, her fight with Ronda more than likely won’t become that, at least in the beginning.
Miesha can be the backup plan if the Cyborg fight never comes to fruition.
Everyone knows that the big fight isn’t Holm or Tate vs Rousey, but instead, Cyborg vs Rousey. But the problem with that fight is that Cyborg is a big question mark. She has yet to even try making 135 pounds and continues to push off the decision to drop down in weight. If they were to agree to a fight between the two, there would need to be a backup plan. And that backup plan could be Tate.
If a fight with Cyborg was signed and there was reason to believe that her training camp wasn’t going well when it came to getting down in weight, you could call it off and not need a lot of time to start promotion on Tate and Rousey III. There’s so much footage already and publicly, while the fans wouldn’t be happy for the switch, Tate has name value whereas someone like Amanda Nunes doesn’t. It would still work.
While the Holm fight isn’t the most marketable for Ronda, there are some reasons for it happening.