Becoming a hero is no easy task. It requires a strong will, lack of fear and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to learn from mistakes and make sure they don’t happen again.

The same can be said of mixed martial arts. One minute a fighter can be riding high and the next they can be unconscious. It’s preventing that from happening repeatedly that is the key to success.

That’s where Colorado’s Chris Holland finds himself at this juncture of his career. After putting together an impressive three-fight winning streak that included a TKO win over UFC veteran Phil Baroni, the Factory X product was submitted by grappling ace Braulio Estima in the co-main event of Titan FC 24 in August.

Holland (L) delivers a right hand (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“I don’t have any regrets for taking that fight,” Holland told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “Obviously I wish the outcome were different, but someone has to win and someone has to lose; unfortunately it was me. In this sport, you can’t win every fight unless you’re fighting a bunch of softies.

“The best part of that fight was the experience. Fighting out of state, fighting someone of that caliber on AXS TV; there wasn’t anything negative [about it]. I would do it again.”

While “The Hammer” found himself playing the role of the nail, he has made peace with the outcome and is ready to move on to his next quest. However, he does acknowledge that the fight stung a little more than usual, as his young daughter was watching as it unfolded.

“I’d say it was the toughest loss of my career because it was on TV and my daughter saw it. She was pretty devastated seeing me go to sleep,” admitted Holland.

Now, Holland will turn his attention to fellow Coloradoan Jason “The Dragon” Lee at Paramount Prize Fighting on Jan. 25 in Denver. Just how eager is Holland to slay his opponent? He’s moving up a weight class to do so.

“We tried to negotiate the weight down, but [Lee] didn’t want to,” explained Holland. “It’s not like he’s a massive or really tall 185er. I think he’s pretty strong, but he’s not overwhelmingly bigger than me. Honestly, I’m one of the strongest guys in my gym, so I’m not too worried about that.”

Comparing the resumes of the two combatants, it’s easy to see why Holland is willing to challenge his bigger foe. The question is, where does he plan to take out the mythical creature?

“I have definitely fought and beaten better opponents. I think my advantage is anywhere,” he declared. “I have more knockout power than he does, and I think I’m better wherever the fight goes.”

That knockout power is Holland’s weapon of choice when heading to battle, as evidenced by all five of his career wins coming by (T)KO. But the fighter is looking to pull out some new tricks if his opponent isn’t willing to engage in a stand-up war.

“I really hope he wants to make this a firefight, but the odds are that he’s not going to want to do that,” Holland said with a laugh. “If I had to bet, I’m going to assume that he’s going to try to take me down or push me against the cage.

Holland (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“I want to show everyone that I have more than just a couple of strong hands. I’ve been working my kicks, my jiu-jitsu and my wrestling. It’s not that I just focus on one of his weaknesses. I’m trying to be a better all-around fighter. I think that’s going to show in this fight.”

Despite his desire to showcase his evolving skill set after never seeing a third round in his professional or amateur career, Holland is expecting more of the same when he enters the cage on Friday night.

“Only way it goes past a round is if he takes me down and does what Baroni did. Even then, he’s going to get tired.

“Will it goes past two [rounds]?… No!”, he proclaimed emphatically.

Should Holland get his wish and send “The Dragon” back into the realm of myth and folklore, expect to see him back on the bigger stage once more. When Titan was purchased by Resurrection Fighting Alliance, Holland’s contract came with it.

“I still have two more fights with RFA, we just haven’t had any offers or match-ups yet. I’m sure they’re coming. They were nice enough to let me fight outside of my contract and pick up a win,” said Holland with confidence.

Holland clearly expects to add another notch to his shield and get back to work under the RFA banner, but that doesn’t mean he’s underestimating his task at hand.

“I’m really focused on Jason and that’s it.”

Chris would like to thank everyone at Factory X Muay Thai, especially his coaches. His sponsors: Performance MMA and Indo Industries.. Follow him on Twitter: @HammerTime528

Top Photo: Chris Holland (L) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)