Posted 04/05/2014 by McKinley Noble in MMA Buzz

Legacy FC Champ Holly Holm May Be MMA’s Smartest UFC Prospect

Newly-crowned Legacy FC champion Holly Holm may not be UFC-bound yet, but you can’t deny her MMA success so far.

Sure, the 18-time world champion boxer and former three-division titlist is young in the sport and has her fair share of detractors. But despite all the talk about how well she’d fare against the likes of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, or other Top 15 mixed martial artists, Holm and her handlers have shown that (so far) they know exactly what they’re doing. Some MMA prospects take tons of risks early in their careers, but the really good ones know how to stack the deck and wait things out.


Doin’ Things Right

With Holm now firmly settled into the regional circuit as a regular headline source for major MMA websites, all she really has to do is keep winning.

Given how shallow a talent pool women’s MMA is, that’s exactly not a tall order.

Besides, when you break down the positives of Holm as a fighter, things look pretty tidy for her career:

  • Undefeated MMA record
  • Legit “Top 15″ ranking
  • Exciting KO finishes
  • Triple-sport history
  • Smart management/camp

For the level Holm is at, she’s pretty much in cruise control. There’s no need to “prove” herself beyond an Invicta or UFC title shot. And if she keeps up her pace of fights—five bouts in the last year between three promotions—she’ll have far more fights than most of the women already in the UFC (and the upcoming 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter).

Dana White may not want to pay millions of dollars for Holm yet, but if she stays unbeaten, her contract will definitely be a lot healthier than the $8,000/$8,000 deal that fighters like Jessica Eye bring home.

Squash match? Sure. Another year of this? Yes, please.

(GIF by Zombie Prophet via FanSided.)


Ronda Rousey/Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm?

Regarding a much-rumored fight with Rousey (or Cris Cyborg), it’ll be interesting to see if/how the stars align.

Keep in mind, Rousey already seems to have plenty of better-paying prospects outside of MMA, and she’s often hinted that her time in the sport could come to an end very soon.

If Holm can get Rousey into a fight before then, that’s great. But if Rousey retires and drops/vacates the belt, that’s not so horrible, either. People forget, the difference between Rousey and the rest of her division is like Cain Velasquez and every other heavyweight.

Once “Rowdy” eventually leaves, it could turn into a Georges St-Pierre situation where the Top 15 suddenly becomes a competitive free-for-all without a super-dominant champion holding things down.

If Holm’s aim is a UFC title, perhaps a Rousey-less women’s bantamweight division may be her best opportunity.

Frankly, more people should be impressed at how loyal Rousey’s been to an organization that historically never wanted to employ female fighters in the first place.

Rousey imagines never having to deal with Mike Goldberg ever again.


And the Hype Train Rolls On

Either way, the ball’s in Holm’s court, and at her current level of competition, she can wait for the UFC to warm up to her.

She’s fresh enough to the sport, younger than several of her divisional compatriots, and has a team that’ll keep her visible enough to hardcore fans of the sport.

As much as Dana White might hate Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn, he can’t deny that their fighters make him a lot of money.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble