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Holly Holm thinks the UFC could be saving her for a rematch with Ronda Rousey

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 15/04/2016 Des Bieler
Holly Holm, right, knocked Ronda Rousey out at UFC 193 in November. © EPA/Joe Castro Holly Holm, right, knocked Ronda Rousey out at UFC 193 in November.

Holly Holm had to have been shocked that Miesha Tate is set to fight at UFC 200 in July — and not against her.

Having taken Holm’s bantamweight crown at UFC 196 in March, Tate will make her first title defense against another highly ranked contender, Amanda Nunes.

Of course, many were expecting Tate to wait until Ronda Rousey was ready to return to the Octagon before defending her crown, but as with Holm following her stunning upset of Rousey at UFC 193 in November, Tate apparently preferred to keep busy. There is some dispute about whether Holm was offered to Tate as a UFC 200 opponent, and if not, who made that decision, but the result is the same: The recent bantamweight champion is still waiting to find out who she’ll fight next.

An intriguing possibility is one that would bring things, in a way, full circle — Rousey. Having put together a huge, star-studded card for UFC 200, the company didn’t necessarily need the attraction of Tate-Holm 2 for that event. But Holm-Rousey 2 would figure to bring a ton of eyeballs to a future card, wouldn’t it?

That potential scenario was posed to Holm recently by “MMA Hour” host Ariel Helwani, and she agreed it could be in the works. “It’s very possible,” Holm said (via MMA Fighting). “I don’t know what their real thinking is, but they’re obviously a successful business for a reason. They’re a successful promotion. They usually have their reasons behind everything.”

“I’ll be ready either way,” Holm added. “If I rematch with Ronda, I’m gonna train my butt off. If I rematch with Tate, I’m gonna train my butt off. If they give me one of the other top girls in the meantime, I’m gonna train my butt off.

“I feel like at this point, not having the rematch, which is what I really wanted, I kind of just changed my train of thought to just be open to whatever. I don’t want to be so focused on that that if something else comes my way that I don’t take advantage of the opportunity.”

Holm may be referring to having passed up a chance to take on Cris “Cyborg” Justino at UFC 198, in what will be the Brazilian star’s first appearance for the company. At the time, Holm’s manager said that she “just wants to fight Miesha,” but it may be quite a while before that happens.

Assuming Tate defeats Nunes, she may well take on Rousey herself late this year. Also on the UFC 200 card is a battle between two other bantamweight contenders, Cat Zingano and Julianna Pena, and the winner of that would have a strong case for a title shot.

In the meantime, Holm realizes that she needs to be “open to whatever.” Ideally, that “whatever” would be another shot against the MMA superstar Holm so famously dethroned.

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