Kevin Holland has announced he’s set to make the move down to welterweight and is willing to make his divisional debut against striker Daniel Rodriguez.
Holland burst onto the scene and into the middleweight top 10 with a record-breaking five straight wins in 2020. Alongside a split decision victory over Darren Stewart, “Trailblazer” recorded memorable knockouts against Anthony Hernandez, Charlie Ontiveros, Joaquin Buckley, and Brazilian legend Jacaré Souza.
But a step-up in competition this year saw Holland dominated in five-round main events against top contenders Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori. Having failed to get back on track against the unranked Kyle Daukaus after a clash of heads rendered him unconscious and led to a no contest, Holland is looking to switch things up.
After some talk of a possible return to welterweight, where he fought six times in regional promotions, Holland announced the move in an Instagram post on Wednesday.
“In 2022, I’m taking my talents to the 170lb division”
During a recent appearance on The Schmozone Podcast, Holland addressed his decision to make the drop down to 170 pounds. The 21-7 professional discussed his previous attempt to make the switch, and claimed his attitude and work at the UFC Performance Institute has left him much-better placed to make a successful adjustment this time around.
“We just did a little nutrition thing, a little scan and everything. I could burn a few more carbs in my sleep, which would be awesome, but we think that could possibly pick up and change when I’ve possibly eaten a little more healthy and I’m actually in camp working out, and eliminate some stress. But yeah, I’m completely green to make 170. I haven’t tried it in a long time. Last time I tried it I failed. I didn’t know how to cut weight back then, I didn’t have the people that I have in my life today, I wasn’t as disciplined as I am today. I’d love to give it a shot.
“I’m actually gonna do a test cut. See how that feels. As long as that feels good, I think I’m good to go.”
In another interaction with The Schmo, Holland discussed who he could face in his divisional debut next year. If Daniel Rodriguez is ready to fight in the first quarter of 2022, “Big Mouth” revealed he’s keen to face the brawler.
“At 170, D-Rod said he was a little hurt right now, I don’t know when he plans on being better, but if he’s good around January-February, that’d be nice.”
Rodriguez Open To Welcoming Holland To 170 With Striking Battle
Not many fighters have been as consistent and successful as Daniel Rodriguez over the past couple of years. Since joining the UFC last February, “D-Rod” has fought seven times, recording six victories and a sole defeat. The one blemish on his promotional record came by way of controversial decision against Nicolas Dalby, a result that many fans and pundits dispute.
Aside from that, the 34-year-old has secured victories over recognized talents like Tim Means, Dwight Grant, Mike Perry, and former interim title challenger Kevin Lee. Despite still being unranked, another point of contention among fans, most acknowledge that Rodriguez is deserving of a big fight in his next outing.
Rodriguez is happy for that big fight to come against a two-time UFC headliner in Kevin Holland. Also speaking to The Schmo, “D-Rod” expressed his willingness to welcome the 29-year-old to the UFC welterweight roster with a fan-favorite striking battle.
Despite recently undergoing hand surgery and potentially requiring another procedure, the Californian suggested he’d be willing to choose against another operation if a fight with Holland is on the table for early 2022.
“I love it, I love it. I appreciate the callout, homie. I understand you wanna strike. if there’s anyone to strike in the division it’s me, especially coming and dropping down into my weight class. We were scheduled to fight my second fight in the UFC. I stepped up on two weeks’ notice, as usual, and he got injured. I think there was a lot of questions unanswered there and I think it would be a great opportunity if me and him finally just squared out and gave the people a good-ass show. He wants to strike, I’m a striker, and we could do it anytime.
“The only thing is I’ve got this injury I’m going through right now. But if you ask me, he’s gonna be the reason why I don’t get the surgery.”
Would you like to see Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez clash at welterweight next year?