Holly Holm Might Be the Most Humble Champion in UFC History

After killing Ronda Rousey in the ring, she’s killing her with kindness.

Immediately after laying Ronda Rousey out with a devastating kick to the face, Holly Holm started singing her praises. As the two fighters embraced in the ring following Holm’s unexpectedly one-sided win, she told a blood-covered Rousey, “You know I really admire you for being such a great, dominant champion.”

In the nine days since UFC 193, the one-way love fest hasn’t stopped. Holm has defended Rousey’s decision to not touch gloves before the fight, something that led Lady Gaga of all people to rip Rousey. A few days later, as haters were reveling in Rousey’s loss, Holm told Dan Patrick that they should take it easy on the ex-champ because most “people wouldn’t even have the nerve” to get in the octagon and put it all on the line.”

Then, on Monday night, Holm appeared on Late Night with Seth Myers to once again heap praise on the woman who called her, “Fake ass cheap shotting fake respect fake humility bitch…” the day before their fight. 

What a sweetheart. Holm has been remarkably humble the past couple weeks, never once gloating or rubbing her win Rousey’s face. She’s also emerged as Rousey’s most unlikely defender. After killing Rousey in the ring, she’s been killing her with kindness.

It’s a pretty novel strategy for a fighter. In a world of bluster and braggadocio, you don’t often find a fighter who spends most of her time pumping up the ego of the mope she just knocked out. But Holm is, as her self-explanatory nickname tells us, “The Preacher’s Daughter.” Little surprise then that she’d be so modest. 

It’s worth considering if Holm is motivated by something other than pure heartedness, though. It is, after all, not in her interest to tear down the fighter she just beat. Applauding Rousey at every turn makes Holm’s win seem more impressive and favorable compared to the blustering Rousey. If people start to think Rousey was a hack, then Holm’s victory over her isn’t worth much. But the more Holm talks about what a great champion Rousey was, the more impressive her own victory seems.

Yes, Holm is sweet — but she’s no dummy. 

Photos by Noel Vasquez / Getty Images