Tonight Kevin Holland faces Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC Vegas 22. In the lead-up to the fight Holland has had ample opportunities to express himself in front of his widest audience to date. During those opportunities Holland has said some... let’s say unusual things.
In a media day for this weekend’s event Holland was asked about his earlier comments regarding Khamzat Chimaev and that fighter’s serious bout of COVID-19. Holland had previously bashed Chimaev for having serious symptoms of the virus and suggested that suffering from COVID-19 was because of a ‘lack of heart’.
When asked if he regretted making those comments about a virus that has killed over 540,000 Americans, Holland was blunt.
“Why would I regret those comments?” he said (ht MMA Junkie), before casting doubt over news that Chimaev is still recovering from damage to his lungs caused by the virus. “[Chimaev] still looks pretty in all his pictures. Everybody says he feels bad. I had seen him like literally two days before he said he felt bad, and we were about to low-key fight inside the lobby all over again. You know what I mean? I mean, he didn’t feel that bad that hour. So, it is what it is.”
Holland then shared more details of the hotel lobby confrontation he had with Chimaev.
“It wasn’t like almost fight, it was just like literally, I seen him, he seen me and he walked in and I was like, ‘Oh look my best friend’s here.’ Granted there’s a language barrier, so he probably didn’t understand like I was being sarcastic, and he was like, ‘Oh you want to be friends now?’ I started laughing, I was like, ‘F*ck no, never. Why would I want to be friends with you?’
“Then somebody behind me was like, ‘Kevin there’s a lot of them, and it’s just one of you,’ and I was like, ‘I’m not worried about it. I drove out here. I got dildos in the car. I’m ready to f*ck that boy.’ So it’s never really worried about these guys. I hope he gets better. I’d love to fight him one day.”
This isn’t the first time Holland has publicly called out Chimaev. Previously he slammed Chimaev’s 9-0 record and, after KOing Jacare Souza, he challenged Chimaev to face him at middleweight.
Both Holland and Chimaev had outstanding 2020s. Chimaev debuted for the UFC last year and won three fights on Fight Island, the last of which was a quick KO over Gerald Meerschaert. Chimaev was booked to face Leon Edwards, but COVID-19 scuppered that fight.
Holland joined the UFC in 2018 off of the Contender Series. After going 2-1 in both 2018 and 2019 with UFC competition, ‘Trailblazer’ broke out in 2020.
He started the year with back-to-back TKOs over Anthony Hernandez and Joaquin Buckley. He followed that up with a split decision win over Darren Stewart and then a slam TKO over Charlie Ontiveros. In December he knocked out Souza in improbable fashion.
Holland’s five wins in 2020 tied a UFC record for most wins in a calendar year.