Holly Holm would be eager to welcome Ronda Rousey to the Octagon, but does not expect that

Holly Holm was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 12, 2022. She will likely be in the UFC Hall of Fame when she retires from MMA, although she is closing in on 42 and shows no signs of hanging up the gloves. .

She fought the best of her era in two sports and did what few could accomplish. She is the only person, male or female, to have won a major world boxing title as well as a UFC championship.

Her reign as UFC bantamweight champion was short – she held the belt for less than five months (10 days less, to be exact) – and was unable to reclaim it. Holm, however, did not give up.

She takes on a challenge by taking on newcomer Mayra Bueno Silva, who is 10th in the bantamweight rankings, on Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 77 at Apex in Las Vegas. Holm is ranked third and still has her eye on another title shot, so going up against someone so far below her in the standings is definitely a risk.

With the retirement of two-time champion Amanda Nunes, the title picture is wide open. There is still no clear answer as to whether the UFC will continue to run a featherweight division, while at bantamweight, Julianna Peña and Raquel Pennington are expected to fight for the vacant crown.

But things could change drastically if a rumor that bantamweight Chelsea Chandler said she heard is true. Chandler, the No. 15 ranked bantamweight who fights Norma Dumont in a featherweight bout, stunned the media on Wednesday when she said there was talk of Ronda Rousey returning to the UFC.

Holm knocked out Rousey in 2015 to claim the bantamweight belt in one of the UFC’s most famous fights. Rousey returned 13 months later and was knocked out in a title fight by Nunes. She retired from MMA and became a WWE wrestler after that.

She left MMA for 5 and a half years, but Chandler pulled it out of nowhere.

“I heard Ronda was coming back,” Chandler said. “I heard she was coming back at 145.”

This would have a huge impact on Holm, who made a name for himself in MMA dominating Rousey. Holm was 10-0 after beating Rousey but was choked out by Miesha Tate in her next fight and went 5-6 in all 11 fights after her biggest win.

Holm fought the elite of the elite during his time in MMA, including fights with Nunes, Rousey, Tate, Valentina Shevchenko, Germaine de Randamie and Cris “Cyborg” Justino. She was on top of the world after her win over Rousey and instantly went from star boxer who fought MMA to one of UFC’s biggest stars.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: (RL) Holly Holm of the United States hits Ronda Rousey of the United States during their UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship bout at the UFC 193 event at the Etihad Stadium on November 15 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Holly Holm (R) would be eager to face Ronda Rousey (L) again, but said she wasn’t sure Rousey was really motivated to fight MMA. (Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

A fight with Rousey, whether at bantamweight or featherweight, would once again ignite Holm’s career. However, she has been involved in combat sports for a long time and does not set her hopes too high. She knows it’s unlikely, but would be happy to share the cage with Rousey in case it turns out to be more than just a rumor.

“I don’t know if she’ll really come back,” Holm said. “Who knows if these are just words? I know she’s a very competitive person. There’s a reason she was an Olympian. There’s a reason she was a champion for so long. But I would absolutely do this fight again, and at either weight. … I know she’s been very busy with her life. Whatever she wants to do, more power to her, but if she comes back, it would be great to fight again.

Given that Holm has no intention of retiring, a win over Bueno Silva would seem to keep her in the mix for another title fight given that Peña and Pennington are the only two fighters ranked ahead of her in the division. . She has already beaten Pennington twice, although Peña is the only big name from her era that she hasn’t faced.

However, Holm has always been punished and knows nothing positive happens to her with a loss to Bueno Silva. So she puts aside the Rousey talk and the title talk and focuses on what she needs to do to pass Silva on Saturday.

“If they offer you a fight and you don’t take it, you can sit down for a while,” Holm said. “It’s a big risk to fight a lower ranked fighter because at this point anyone in the top 10 is really tough. I have everything to lose and she has everything to gain. There’s a lot pressure with that, but I think a champion should be able to come in and deal with it somehow.”

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