It’s been a minute since we last saw Holly Holm inside the Octagon. The former UFC champion hasn’t competed since her decision win over Irene Aldana during the UFC Fight Night 4 main event in October 2020, on Fight Island.
During her absence, the former boxer and kickboxer dealt with a kidney disorder that forced her off her scheduled bout with Julianna Peña for May 2021.
Now recovered and ready to get back in action, Holm only has her sights on going full steam ahead.
“It’s one of those times you have to sit back and say ‘OK, this is where my journey’s been’ and you make the most of it and just move forward from here,” Holm told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. “There’s nothing I can really do about it. We’re just going forward now.
“I had to have surgery. It was a piece of bone fragment floating around up there. They had to clean up a few things but I did have to have surgery. But we’re up and we’re cranking and we’re pushing forward.”
Prizefighting, many say, is a young person’s sport. But for the 40-year-old Holm, mere talks about her retirement have left her “frustrated.”
“I’m definitely super frustrated, especially when people are like ‘are you retired?’” she said. “I’m like no! Not retired! But I can see them maybe thinking that because they haven’t seen me fight.
“I want to show them what I’ve got and especially because my last fight, I got to show even more of my game from what had been seen before. I get excited cause I want to show more and show more and I keep running into these barriers. It’s definitely frustrating.”
Despite her age, Holm feels she still has a lot left in the tank.
“I know people that at 25 aren’t as healthy as people at 40,” she said. “I think it’s all how you take care of your body. Yes, I’ve been beating up my body for a while and I’ve had a few injuries here and there.
“My kidney thing, that’s not even an injury. That’s just another wrench to throw on the engine. But what’s awesome, I didn’t realize how much I was dealing with before that was fixed. Now that’s great.
“I’ve been dealing with that for fights over and over so some of that stuff is actually helping me be healthier and be better at 40.
As for retirement, “The Preacher’s Daughter” isn’t thinking about it right now, if at all.
“I definitely want to go until the wheels fall off,” she added. “Things might hurt. People are like ‘you’re going to have arthritis, you’re going to have this, you’re going to have that.’ Yeah, probably but I’d rather have a healthy heart and lungs and memories with me than just my knees don’t hurt.
“At the end of my life I know my body’s probably going to hurt pretty bad but that’s all right. Because I love the memories I have. I love the passion I’ve felt in life. I love that I’ve given myself a chance to really get out there and do things and I still love it.
“Having this much time off makes me realize how much I still love it. It’s like I crave to fight. I want it really badly.”
Holm is reportedly slated to headline a UFC event in May against Ketlen Vieira in a potential number one contender fight at women’s bantamweight.