In late 2011, Holly Holm had visions of becoming the first person to simultaneously hold championships in boxing and mixed martial arts. A vet in the ring, she was still feeling out the Octagon as she switched back and forth between the two styles of fighting. But a fateful fight on December 2nd in her hometown of Albuquerque would change Holm’s vision of the future — and she has the thunder fists of French boxer Anne Sophie Mathis to thank.
Mathis KO’d Holm in the seventh round of a fight that would go on to be named the best of the year. It provided a jolt for Holm, who recently told Boxing News Magazine that juggling boxing and MMA disrupted her focus and left her vulnerable in the Mathis fight. “That’s what I get for looking too far ahead,” she said.
After losing to Mathis, Holm turned back to boxing and relentlessly prepared for the impending rematch with Mathis. In June 2012, she got her revenge in a 10-round unanimous decision. A year later, she fought her final match as a boxer. "It’s a hard decision, but I need to keep that spark and passion," Holm said when she announced her retirement from boxing. "MMA is where it’s at for me now."
But after her final fight in the ring, Holm dove head first into MMA, racking up three more wins before the end of 2013. Now Holm is the UFC women's bantamweight champion after knocking out Ronda Rousey, a favorite who supposedly lacked the laser focus on MMA that let Holm prepare for battle. It’s a story that should sound familiar to Holm, who's no doubt hoping that Rousey’s comeback from a humbling knockout doesn’t have have the same effect it once had on her.
We'll find out in July of 2016. Holm and Rousey are expected to have a re-match in Las Vegas — and we'll be watching.