HOUSTON – With five knockout wins in five professional MMA bouts, women's slugger Holly Holm is quickly making a name for herself in the sport. UFC President Dana White said the hype surrounding the prospect reminds him of another recent UFC addition.
"I was on the street the other day, and some guy was like, 'Hey! Sign Holly Holm!'" White recalled. "I was like, 'Yeah, I know. Everybody's telling me.'
"I haven't seen her fight, but I keep hearing about her. She's like the female Conor McGregor."
White discussed Holm with a small group of reporters following Saturday night's UFC 166 event Houston's Toyota Center.
McGregor, of course, was fighting on Europe's regional scene until earlier this year. Fans in his native Ireland constantly badgered White via social media to sign the "Notorious" one, and they even brought McGregor's name up during the UFC boss' February trip to Dublin to receive an honorary award from Trinity College.
McGregor signed with the promotion shortly after, and he's since racked up wins over Max Holloway and Marcus Brimage, catapulting himself into mainstream awareness with his unique blend of charisma and combat expertise.
Meanwhile, Holm (5-0) started boxing professionally in 2002 and earned a 33-2-3 career record that included nine knockouts and more than 20 world title fights. A pupil of famed trainer Mike Winkeljohn at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, Holm made her MMA debut in March 2011. However, she retired from boxing earlier this year in order to focus full-time on her MMA career, and she's racked up three knockout wins over the past eight months.
White admits he's never seen Holm compete but said he's aware of the sizable hype surrounding her budding career. He believes it echoes the buzz that McGregor built prior to his UFC arrival.
"I thought Conor McGregor was a heavyweight when I kept hearing about him for some reason," White said. "I don't know why I did, but I did. Holly Holm – I don't no what she looks like. I've never seen her fight. But I know who she is."
White said he hasn't specifically spoken with UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Joe Silva about Holm's potential with the company, but he knows they'll speak up when the time is right.
"They know who's next," White said. "When it's time for Holly Holm, they'll let me know."
Holm's two most recent fights both took place under the Texas-based Legacy Fighting Championship banner.