Holly Holm is a name that needs no introduction to UFC enthusiasts, but even if you’re only a casual follower, her accomplishments are worth noting. With an impressive mix of skill, strength, and determination, “The Preacher’s Daughter” has made waves in the world of combat sports. Here’s a deep dive into ten must-know facts about Holly Holm.
Before stepping into the UFC octagon, Holm was an accomplished boxer. She began her professional boxing career in 2002 and won multiple titles in different weight classes, including the WBF, WBC, WBA, and IBA female titles.
Transition to MMA
Holm made her mixed martial arts debut in 2011. With her striking prowess from boxing, she seamlessly transitioned to MMA, carving a name for herself in promotions like Bellator and Legacy FC before joining the UFC.
Holm made her UFC debut in 2015 against Raquel Pennington. Despite the pressures of a grand debut, she secured a split decision victory, setting the stage for her meteoric rise in the promotion.
The Shock Heard Round the World
Later in 2015, Holm faced MMA’s then-Queen Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title. In a shocking upset, she defeated Rousey with a head kick in the second round, capturing the title and shaking the very foundations of the MMA world.
A significant part of Holm’s fighting style revolves around her elite striking and defensive tactics. Her ability to maintain distance, combined with her counter-striking, makes her a formidable opponent for anyone.
Personal Life and Early Beginnings
Before her combat sports fame, Holly grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, attending Manzano High School. Born to parents Roger and Tammy, Holly played soccer and participated in diving and gymnastics during her younger years. It was her diverse athletic background that laid the foundation for her eventual foray into boxing and MMA. Her parents played an integral role in fostering her competitive spirit and discipline.
Holly’s father, Roger, is a Church of Christ preacher, while her mother, Tammy, is a massage therapist. This unique blend of spirituality and understanding of the body perhaps gave Holly a distinctive perspective and approach to her career. Her upbringing in Albuquerque, coupled with her family’s support, has been a significant factor in her sustained success in the challenging world of combat sports.
Outside the Octagon
Beyond her fighting career, Holm has appeared in a few films and TV shows. She even made a cameo appearance in the 2016 action film “Fight Valley.”
Holm is one of the few fighters to have won titles both in boxing and MMA, cementing her place as a versatile combat athlete. In boxing, she successfully defended her IBA title 18 times, showing dominance over a long period. Moreover, her MMA title win wasn’t just about acquiring another belt, but also signified a transition from being a boxing champion to conquering the MMA world.
This shift in disciplines and her ability to excel in both speaks volumes about her adaptability, training, and sheer will to win. Many combat athletes try their hand in different sports, but few reach the pinnacle in more than one discipline like Holm has.
Trained by Renowned Coach
Holly Holm has been trained by the esteemed Mike Winkeljohn for almost her entire career. Coach Winkeljohn, often referred to simply as “Coach Wink,” is a well-respected figure in the world of MMA and has been instrumental in shaping many fighters at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Holm’s striking prowess, footwork, and impeccable technique can be attributed to the teachings and methodologies of Coach Wink. It’s a partnership that’s lasted for years and has seen Holm transition seamlessly from boxing to MMA, proving the depth and versatility of Winkeljohn’s coaching abilities.
International Boxing Hall of Fame
As of this writing, while not holding a UFC title, Holm remains a top contender in her division, and her future fights are eagerly awaited by fans and pundits alike, showcasing her continued popularity in the sport. In 2022 however, she achieved a major highlight of her combat sports career by being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Holly Holm’s story is one of dedication, evolution, and breaking barriers. For anyone even mildly intrigued by MMA or combat sports, her journey is a testament to what happens when talent meets hard work.