Although Holly Holm was choked unconscious by Miesha Tate in the co-main event of UFC 196 last Saturday, the former champion was holding her own against "Cupcake" and showed a champion's heart in defeat.
"The Preacher's Daughter" seized the bantamweight title when she shocked the world and KO'd Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. Holm, who has has won multiple world titles in boxing, was expected to dominate Tate but found herself struggling to deal with Miesha's calculated plan of attack. Tate's grappling proved to be problematic for Holm, as she eventually secured a rear-naked choke in the fifth round to relieve the 34-year-old of her title.
Jon Jones, who has watched Holm grow and evolve over the years at Jackson-Wink MMA, believes the loss to Tate is a road-bump in her career and claims she'll bounce back stronger than ever.
The former light heavyweight champion spoke to FOX Sports in the aftermath of Holm's loss.
"I'm not worried about Holly too much. I know for a fact that her best is yet to come. It really is. She will hold the belt again," Jones said. "Holly's an amazing champion. She's an amazing person, an amazing citizen. She will be back from this so much stronger. Holly, she's a rookie in this sport and with that being said, she's one of the greatest of all time already. So her potential is just sky high. I mean there's no cap on her potential."
"Bones" says that one of his teammate's defining qualities is her obsession to sharpen and hone the weakest areas of her game. The 28-year-old believes this is what sets Holm apart from other fighters on the roster and says she will refine the holes in her grappling, which was ultimately the area that cost her the fight at UFC 196.
"One thing I always say about Holly â she's obsessed with what she's not good at," Jones said. "A lot of people get good at something and they want to do it all day long. Like Conor (McGregor) for example, he's a great boxer and that's what he likes to do I imagine. I don't think he has a wrestling coach or jiu-jitsu coach, I don't know I doubt it.
"Holly is always working on her wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Now she's going to be obsessed with these things. She's going to be obsessed with these positions where she fell short tonight and she's going to come back way stronger."
Holm was expected to beat Tate and rematch Ronda Rousey in a mega-money fight by the end of the year but, with those plans now scrapped, it's likely for "Rowdy" to return against Miesha Tate in a championship rematch.