The UFC women's bantamweight division is entering a new chapter. The division began back in 2012 when Ronda Rousey came over from Strikeforce and was named champion. Since that time there have only been five fighters to hold that title. Now for the first time in the division's history, a champion has retired while actively holding the belt.
Amanda Nunes decided to walk away from MMA following her last win over Irene Aldana at UFC 289. Now the title is vacant and one of the past champions is looking to fill the void.
Holly Holm is one of the longest-tenured fighters in the UFC bantamweight division. She notoriously defeated Rousey back in 2015 to become the champ but was never able to defend her title. She is one of the most decorated fighters on the roster and at 41 years old is not ready to stop until that belt is hers once more. As Holm prepares for her next challenge she feels it is her time to return to a UFC title fight. She spoke about this at UFC Vegas 77 media day.
"I always felt that at this point, I was one fight away from the belt anyway. So my goal is still the belt, regardless, and you know, if she ever wants to come out of retirement, then maybe that could even happen then, not every fighter stays retired," she said. "But I do feel like I'm one fight away from the title regardless and yeah, even at 145 or 135. But, I mean, I was excited to fight for the title even before she retired. It does shake things up a little bit in the division because of it."
Holly Holm would be interested in fighting Ronda Rousey again
Another big option for Holm could be a rematch with Rousey. Rousey walked away from MMA back in 2016 but there have been rumors circulating that she may want to make a return. Since Holm is the one who took away her belt, she would be more than willing to step back in again with her former foe.
" I don't know if she'll really come back. I mean, who knows if it's just talk, "she said. "She's a very competitive person. There's a reason why she was an Olympian and the reason why she was champion for so long, so I would absolutely revisit that fight. And either weight, I don't really think that it's an advantage or disadvantage, depending on the weight. We'll see if she comes back. I know she's been pretty busy with her life and whatever she wants to do more power to her but if she comes back, that'd be great to fight again.
Holm must first get past Mayra Bueno Silva on July 15 at UFC Vegas 77. Silva is currently ranked tenth, with Holm sitting in the number two spot on the rankings.