Tak­ing an­other shot

Holm tries to avoid one hit won­der sta­tus at UFC 208

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY DAN GELSTON THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Holly Holm is al­ready the an­swer to a trivia ques­tion as the first fighter to dom­i­nate and de­feat Ronda Rousey.

Her leap from ob­scu­rity to in­stant celebrity landed her on day­time talk shows and chat­ting with late-night hosts and made her — oh so briefly — the most talked about fighter in UFC.

She’s try­ing th­ese days to avoid an­other rather du­bi­ous fight con­ver­sa­tion.

Holm’s cham­pi­onship reign lasted only four months, and an­other loss soon fol­lowed that left Holm not as the heir ap­par­ent to Rousey in the women’s di­vi­sion, but rather on the cusp of be­ing la­beled an MMA ver­sion of a one-hit won­der like Buster Douglas. Douglas rode a stun­ning knock­out of Mike Tyson in 1990 in Ja­pan all the way to fight im­mor­tal­ity — sports fans can’t for­get his name, yet he never had an­other ma­jor vic­tory in his ca­reer.

Holm’s not quite there yet, though she was com­posed enough this week at Bar­clays Cen­ter to an­swer ques­tions that lumped her in with Douglas.

“Af­ter the fight with Ronda, I knew that if I didn’t win af­ter that, those would be things that would be tossed around,’’ Holm said. “But I’m not in this sport to please ev­ery­body else and what they think and what they feel. I’m in it be­cause I love it.’’

Douglas was a 42-1 longshot when he KO’d the un­de­feated and seem­ingly in­de­struc­tible Tyson and won the heavy­weight cham­pi­onship. Douglas gained about 35 pounds and had grown lazy on his 15 min­utes of fame when he lost the belt in quick fash­ion eight months later to Evander Holyfield.

Holm lost the ban­tamweight belt when Miesha Tate choked her out in March 2016 and she lost a de­ci­sion to Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of a Fox card in July. Both fights went five rounds and are the only losses in her ca­reer.

“It’s not like I’ve been fight­ing no­body’s. They’re very tough op­po­nents,’’ Holm said. “I do feel in my heart that I have the ca­pa­bil­ity to win those fights. I just know that I didn’t per­form my best.’’

Holm (10-2) can erase the Douglas com­par­isons and be­come the first two-di­vi­sion cham­pion in UFC women’s his­tory when she fights Ger­maine de Ran­damie (6-3) in the main event of UFC 208. Holm, fight­ing in the new 145-pound feath­er­weight di­vi­sion cre­ated as a show­case for Cris­tiane “Cy­borg’’ Justino, can join Conor McGre­gor, Randy Cou­ture and B.J. Penn as the only two-di­vi­sion champs in UFC his­tory.

“I can guar­an­tee you, they can build this di­vi­sion in no time,’’ Holm said. “They just have to make some phone calls. Be­cause there’s a lot of girls out there that are very tough.’’

Rousey may not fight again fol­low­ing her 48-sec­ond loss to Amanda Nunes in her come­back fight at UFC 207.

Holm is for­ever linked to Rousey in the his­tory book. The 35-year-old Holm, who went 33-2-3 as a pro­fes­sional boxer and won sev­eral cham­pi­onship belts, wants to prove she’s more than the fighter who handed Rousey her first L.

“I don’t want my whole ca­reer to be de­fined around get­ting the belt from Ronda,’’ Holm said. “I want my ca­reer to be de­fined by me be­ing the best fighter I can be and ac­com­plish­ing the big­gest things I can, and what­ever com­pe­ti­tion comes in front of me. So, I want this for me for my ca­reer. I don’t want it to just be around the one fight. I want them to re­mem­ber ev­ery­thing af­ter.’’

AP PHOTO

In this July 23 file photo, Valentina Shevchenko, right, of Kyr­gyzs­tan, punches Holly Holm dur­ing a women’s ban­tamweight mixed mar­tial arts bout in Chicago.

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