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Mike Winklejohn on Holm’s title shot struggles: ‘Nobody wants to fight Holly‘

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Holly Holm’s longtime striking coach lays out the biggest problem his protege’s faced lately with booking.

UFC Fight Night Holm v Aldana
That’s a tight crew.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former UFC champion Holly Holm may have an opponent lined up for later this year, but finding her a dance partner hasn’t been easy.

In an interview with Submission Radio, coach Mike Winklejohn laid out some of the dilemmas in finding Holm someone to fight against. The verdict? Nobody wants to face her.

“Honestly, nobody wants to fight Holly. We have to go up to 145 for this fight with (Norma) Dumont because nobody wants to fight Holly. I can go through the list. De Randamie’s ranked number one, she said absolutely, no way, I’m not gonna fight Holly Holm. So, she said no. We’ve already beat Raquel a bunch of times. We beat up Aldana. Aldana just beat up Yana (Kunitskaya). So, none of those are gonna make sense. Miesha Tate said nope, not right now. So, everybody talks the talk, but honestly, behind the scenes, nobody wants to fight Holly. So we’ll take whatever fight we can get, because Holly just wants the title shot. That’s all she wants. She’s never turned down a fight before in her life, and she wants a title fight.

Asked if a rematch with Tate happens later on, Winklejohn isn’t thrilled about the idea.

I don’t think so. We get this one. I guess if nobody wants to fight Holly and Holly wants to get another fight and we can’t get a fight against Nunes then maybe that’s it, Holly’s like, “OK good, I’ll go beat up on her, no problem.” Because Holly won’t turn down a fight but I don’t see it happening, I don’t see any reason for it. It’s definitely stepping down, it doesn’t really make any sense. Honestly, I thought Holly looked so impressive when she fought Irene Aldana, that people gotta know where she’s at. And that’s the problem, is people are like, uh oh, she can outwrestle people now? As well as outstriking them? It’s getting scary, and I think people see that.”

This claim is totally reasonable. Holm (14-5) has been a tough challenge for anyone she faces in either division, win or lose. Someone like de Randamie may not be thrilled to have to face Holm in a rematch and not have much to gain from it when she’s already ranked at #1. But sitting at #2 in the bantamweight rankings and coming off back to back wins against Irene Aldana and Raquel Pennington, it’s a bit of a challenge to book her against anyone else. Seeing as there’s barely division at all at featherweight, it may have been less difficult to find an opponent willing to risk a fight against a decorated striker for some upward mobility.

In the meantime, Holm faces featherweight Norma Dumont on October 16th at a UFC Fight Night event. The venue has yet to be announced.