You've probably never heard of Holly Holm. Considering she's probably the top female boxer in the country, that's a bit of a problem. And it's a problem that goes a long way towards explaining why a world champion, ranked as the top pound for pound fighter in her sport, is trying her hand at MMA.
Holm, nicknamed "Holly Hotty" has excelled under the careful tutelage of coach Mike Winkeljohn. That means the preacher's daughter is in good hands as she makes the transition from boxing to MMA.
"Holly is just a natural," Winkeljohn said. "She has the natural instinct, when she's hit, to fire right back... You can't teach that. It's either in you or it's not."
The 5-8 southpaw isn't a James Toney looking to make a quick buck. She has been training with Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson for years with this move in the back of her mind. Despite being the top female boxer in the world, the pay days just aren't there. There's potential and opportunity to make your mark quickly in MMA, as witnessed by Liz Caramouche's rocket ship rise to Strikeforce title contention. Everyone at Jackson-Winkeljohn is confident Holm has what it takes to go far in this new sport.
"People forget - she was a kickboxer first," Winkeljohn said. "So she'll be ready for anything standing. And her ground game has gotten pretty good. I think she'll surprise a lot of people."
Holm, taking on Christina "Machine Gun" Domke, will be a featured attraction on a card this Friday at the Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The show is headlined by Keith Jardine fighting in his home state for the first time since 2004 against Aron "The Poster Boy" Lofton.
A Holly Holm video extravaganza after the break.
Mary Jo Sanders | Holly Holm II 1/3
Mary Jo Sanders | Holly Holm II 2/3
Mary Jo Sanders | Holly Holm II 3/3
Holly Holm | Bonnie Mann 1/2 (via WorldOfWomensBoxing)
Holly Holm | Bonnie Mann 2/2 (via WorldOfWomensBoxing)
Holly Holm | Chevelle Hallback 1/4 (via WorldOfWomensBoxing)
Holly Holm | Chevelle Hallback 2/4 (via WorldOfWomensBoxing)
Holly Holm | Chevelle Hallback 3/4 (via WorldOfWomensBoxing)
Holly Holm | Chevelle Hallback 4/4 (via WorldOfWomensBoxing)
Coach Mike Winkeljohn on his female boxers (via TheWfight)