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Holly Holm: ‘I hurt for’ Ronda Rousey, but loss will make her ‘stronger mentally’

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 18/02/2016 Des Bieler
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Ronda Rousey made headlines Tuesday when she told the “Ellen” show that, in the immediate aftermath of her knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November, she had thoughts of suicide. Holm addressed those comments Wednesday, and the new UFC bantamweight champion expressed a mix of empathy for what Rousey went through and confidence that the MMA superstar will ultimately emerge from the experience “stronger mentally.”

“I hurt for [Rousey] that she feels that way because that is a very low place,” Holm said (via Sherdog) at a press conference for UFC 196, at which she will be putting her title on the line against Miesha Tate. Holm recalled an upset, knockout loss she had suffered during her boxing career, and she said that, at the time, she “needed the help, the support around” her.

“I did have a lot of help around me to where I did not feel that way,” Holm said Wednesday. “People would say, ‘Oh it’s not the end of the world.’ I was like, ‘Well that’s exactly what it feels like, the end of the world.’

“When you put your heart and soul into something and it gets shut down devastatingly, it’s terrible,” Holm continued. “It’s a horrible feeling.”

Holly Holm addressed Ronda Rousey's comments about having had suicidal thoughts after loss. © Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Holly Holm addressed Ronda Rousey's comments about having had suicidal thoughts after loss.

However, Holm made it clear that, just because she empathizes with what Rousey went through, that doesn’t at all mean that she regrets her role in putting the former UFC champion in that place. “I don’t want to say I’m sorry,” Holm said, “because I think on a competitive level for me, if somebody was to say they’re sorry after [beating me], it’s like, ‘No, I’m a competitor.’ I’m not a charity case.

“I feel like that’s something the best thing is for me not to say anything at all,” Holm added. “I don’t want to say that I’m glad that she felt that way and I don’t want to say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’ It’s something I think that you have to dig through on your own. In the long run, she’ll be stronger mentally from it.”

Rousey is already exhibiting signs of having moved on to a different, stronger mentality. In addition to tearfully recalling her post-knockout low point, she told Ellen DeGeneres Tuesday, “Of course I want to fight Holly. I’m going to beat her and make everything right again.”

It is unclear when Rousey will make her return to the Octagon, but it is expected to be later this year, in a blockbuster rematch with Holm. First, though, the latter must defeat Tate next month, and it sounds like Holm is preparing for that bout like the “competitor” she is.

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