Things can change quickly in the world of mixed martial arts.
At one time, a match between Holly Holm and Cris Cyborg seemed forever stuck in the purgatory of hypothetical clashes.
There was always a good reason for the fantasized fight. Two of the biggest female stars in all of MMA, both of which are known for crisp striking, had never faced off. The concept of fearless aggression versus calculated counterstriking made for an interesting matchup. But when it was first suggested, it seemed the match would never materialize.
Holly Holm’s management team did acknowledge negotiations, but doubts were being put forth only a few weeks back. While Holm’s representatives did say the bout was something they were interested in, they noted the deal had to be structured properly before they’d commit.
Fights have fallen apart due to negotiations breaking down in the past. While some feared that this would be the case in Holm vs. Cyborg, reports now state that the fight is on track for UFC 219. After Dominick Cruz pulled out of a scheduled headliner with Jimmie Rivera, the blockbuster women’s bout is a much-needed boost to the card.
Holm came from a successful boxing career, amassing a record of 33-2-3. When she made the leap to MMA, she showed off her stellar hands by racking up nine straight victories without a single defeat. She gained her tenth win against Ronda Rousey, in a fight that was considered a major upset.
After toppling the longtime face of women’s MMA and claiming the bantamweight title in the process, things looked very promising for Holm. However, she would lose the title to Miesha Tate in her next fight.
She then dropped a unanimous decision to Valentina Shevchenko, before going up to featherweight in a losing effort against Germaine de Randamie. Holm broke her three-fight skid, getting back on the winning track after returning to bantamweight and defeating Bethe Correia. While Holm’s crisp striking makes her a threat, she is still a sizeable underdog against Cyborg.
The feared female has a record of 18-1-1, and has not lost a fight in over a decade. She became the first ever UFC featherweight champion when she defeated Tonya Evinger at UFC 214. Half of Cyborg’s victories have come via first-round stoppage. Her aggressive style and heavy hands make her a threat to anyone. Holm’s technical striking makes for one of the most interesting matchups of the year.
Cyborg has been the subject of many fantasy matchups over the years. Before she arrived in the UFC, analysts speculated how a matchup between she and Rousey would go. Though talks have circulated about Rousey coming back for this one final match, her coaches say it is unlikely.
Holm may prove to be the more interesting challenger. Though she may be giving up size and power, Holm’s career was catapulted to superstardom by rising up against the odds. Should she win, she’ll be the first female fighter to win UFC titles in two different weight classes.