With her victory at Legacy FC 30 last Friday night, Holly Holm improved her mixed martial arts record to 7-0 and won her first championship in the process. Even though it was only a title win in a regional promotion, it has not stopped the widespread speculation of Holm bringing her skills to the Octagon in a battle against UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

However, is “The Preacher’s Daughter” ready for a a stint inside the Octagon, let alone a fight against the champ?

The short answer is no. Holm is not ready for Rousey. But she does deserve a spot in the UFC.

No disrespect to Holm and her accomplishments, but the 18-time world champion boxer, despite a perfect record in MMA action, doesn’t exactly have a strong resume to make a case at being a title contender for the UFC title just yet. The total combined record of her seven opponents? It sits at an even 30-30. Only two of those foes possess records above the .500 mark. Her recent TKO victory under the Legacy banner came against Juliana Werner, who typically fights as a flyweight and only shifted to bantamweight for a chance at the strap and a possible run at the UFC.

It isn’t just a matter of fighting sub-par or undersized competition either. Holm has thus far benefited from stylistic match-ups that heavily favor her approach to fighting. She is a world champion boxer who also possesses a kickboxing background. Therefore, she is at her best when she is standing across from her opponent at striking distance. In her fight for the Legacy Fighting Championship belt, as well as in many of her other fights, she wasn’t faced with strong grappling threats. Angela Hayes, a 40-year-old fighter who had not fought for more than two years before meeting Holm, stands as the best ground specialist Holm has faced. Hayes was willing to engage in a striking and clinch battle with Holm before being taken down and mounted late in the fight by the striker.

Holm isn’t going to have the luxury of facing 40-year-olds, bloated flyweights and inexperienced opponents when she gets to the UFC, and she certainly won’t be able to avoid fighters who are willing to test her ground skills. Several of the UFC’s best female bantamweights possess elite grappling credentials, including Rousey, who has a history of throwing her opponents around like a rag doll with her judo skills. If the UFC does bring Holm into the fold, she’ll be faced with tougher, bigger strikers like Amanda Nunes and superior grapplers such as Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler. In a boxing match, Holm might be able to thoroughly dominate Rousey, McMann or Baszler, but what happens when they put Holm on her back?

The outcome of Holm’s recent fight confirmed what we already knew about her. We’re already well aware of the fact that when she stands across from an opponent, she will be able to control the distance and the fight. Holm has proved her striking skills countless times in the boxing ring. She fought a smaller, slower opponent in Werner, and Holm basically won a kickboxing match.

It would be a shame at this point for Holm to be brought in for an immediate title shot against Rousey, only to have it last barely a minute because Holm couldn’t defend the takedown. That’s not a knock on Holm’s own potential inside the Octagon, but a testament to Rousey’s superior judo and submission skills and the lack of proof Holm has provided thus far regarding her ability to counter what Rousey brings to the cage.

For now, the path that the boxing champion is on is all well and good. However, if Holm really wants to be able to rise to the level of the top women fighting inside the Octagon, she needs to hone her grappling ability and demonstrate her skills in action, preferably against increasingly difficult competition.

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.