This weekend at UFC 279, Holland will look to continue his fine form since dropping to 170 pounds by extending his win streak to three. Having struggled against elite competition at middleweight, “Trailblazer” has impressed in his new division, stopping Alex Oliveira via TKO this past March and Tim Means by way of submission three months later at UFC Austin.
Now, as his push towards the rankings continues, Holland will welcome fellow top striker Daniel Rodriguez back to the Octagon after over a year on the sidelines.
While the contest this Saturday certainly represents his toughest test since arriving in the welterweight division, “Big Mouth” originally had his sights set higher — that “higher” being a two-time title challenger, 18-fight UFC veteran, and top 10-ranked contender.
Holland: ‘I Know You See It, Thompson’
After a pair of losses to Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad in 2021, both of which exposed some heavy flaws in his grappling game, Stephen Thompson has called to face a fellow stand-up specialist next, going as far as to turn down the UFC’s push to have him face Shavkat Rakhmonov.
While Holland threw his name into the hat as a perfect next opponent for “Wonderboy,” the 39-year-old isn’t looking to return to the cage until the Madison Square Garden event in November.
And although that response was said publicly, Holland’s willingness to fight Thompson didn’t receive an answer when the Texan pushed for the match in the veteran’s Instagram DMs.
“Wonderboy, he always says my name, but he never responds to my damn Instagram messages,” Holland said during his appearance at UFC 279 media day. “Wonderboy, I know you see it. I got a blue check, you got a blue check, I’m in them DMs, respond to me, baby.”
When asked what Thompson had ignored, Holland noted that he’d campaigned for the fight to Thompson himself, seeing himself as the perfect opponent for “Wonderboy” given his own wrestling struggles.
“I just sent him a little thing and I said that I was down. Because he said he doesn’t want to fight a wrestler. But y’all know I can’t wrestle for shit. So yeah, I sent him a message and was like ‘I’m down,’” Holland added.
Recently, Thompson called for the UFC to book him against either Michel Pereira or Bryan Barberena for later this year. But should Holland emerge victorious this weekend at UFC 279, the #7-ranked welterweight will no doubt have a “Trailblazer” back in his DMs pushing for the matchup.
Would you like to see Kevin Holland face Stephen Thompson if he beats Daniel Rodriguez this Saturday?