Holly Holm’s coach Mike Winkeljohn says that nobody wants to fight the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
Holm was last in action in October 2020. In the main event of UFC Fight Island 4, “The Preacher’s Daughter” faced surging contender Irene Aldana. After a dominant five rounds, the 39-year-old left Abu Dhabi with a unanimous decision victory (50-45, 50-45, 50-44).
The result extended Holm’s winning streak to two, and after a similarly controlling performance against Raquel Pennington earlier in the year, showed that the 39-year-old is back to her best. And according to her coach, the bantamweight division is taking notice.
During an appearance on Submission Radio, Mike Winkeljohn, who also coaches the legendary Jon Jones, suggested that fighters are afraid of facing the new and improved iteration of Holm. He revealed that the struggle to find the former champ a fight at 135 pounds is what’s led to her next bout being contested at featherweight.
“Honestly, nobody wants to fight Holly. We have to go up to 145 for this fight with (Norma) Dumont because nobody wants to fight Holly. I can go through the list. De Randamie’s ranked number one, she said absolutely, no way, I’m not gonna fight Holly Holm. So, she said no. We’ve already beat Raquel a bunch of times. We beat up Aldana. Aldana just beat up Yana. So, none of those are gonna make sense. Miesha Tate said nope, not right now. So, everybody talks the talk, but honestly, behind the scenes, nobody wants to fight Holly.” (h/t Middle Easy)
Explaining why top bantamweights are reluctant to accept a matchup with Holm, Winkeljohn said the Albuquerque native’s vast improvements to her wrestling game, coupled with her already imposing striking skills, makes her a scary opponent for anyone.
“Holly just wants the title shot. That’s all she wants. She’s never turned down a fight before in her life, and she wants a title fight. I thought Holly looked so impressive when she fought Irene Aldana, that people gotta know where she’s at. And that’s the problem, people are like, uh oh, she can now wrestle people now? As well as striking? It’s getting scary, and I think people see that.”
Having failed to find a fight at 135 pounds, Holm will move back up to 145 pounds for the first time since her victory over Australia’s Megan Anderson at UFC 225 in 2018. The 39-year-old will face rising contender Norma Dumont at the UFC’s October 16 Fight Night. Since a loss to Anderson in her UFC debut, the Brazilian has recorded wins against Ashlee Evans-Smith and former title challenger Felicia Spencer.
Do you think Holly Holm can have UFC gold wrapped around her waist again?