In the case of Holly Holm’s title shot against Ronda Rousey, it’s not time. Not by a long shot. In fact, for the Preacher’s Daughter, and to borrow from an obscure Guns N’ Roses track, it’s a case of too much, too fast. Too much, too soon.

In fact, too much, too fast, too soon sums up Holm vs. Rousey in a nutshell.

To be frank, I was one of those observers very interested in Holm’s arrival to the UFC. Well in advance of her signing, even well in advance of her final Legacy FC fight, I was hoping for Holm to be signed by the UFC, because her particular skill set could pose problems for Rousey, who has a dearth of opponents at bantamweight. Her ability to fight on the outside, utilizing fantastic striking ability, was a big part of that. However, note the word “could” because it’s the key to that sentence. Striking alone will not win Holm the title, and what was hoped for was that Holm would sign, develop over a period of, say, two years, then fight Rousey for the belt. Those two years would see her in the octagon with at least one world class wrestler, and hopefully shoring up her takedown defense.

Sadly, that hasn’t happened. When the rug was pulled out from under Meisha Tate, who had been verbally promised the next title shot, last week, it became clear that Holm was being rushed to the slaughter as a marketable name who is also a world champion. That she was champion in a regional MMA promotion, and in women’s professional boxing, matters not: in the UFC’s marketing department, there’s little doubt that plans are already being drawn up to position this as a champion vs. champion bout.

That would be fine if Holm was a seasoned MMA fighter. She’s not, however, and don’t let the 9-0 record fool you. While in the realtively young world of Women’s MMA, 9-0 may seem like an impressive record (after all, Rousey has only three more professional fights and is sitting at 12-0), the reality is that quality of competition matters. Holm’s record includes fighters with professional records including 1-1, 2-5, 4-2, 8-11, 6-8 — essentially, fighters with little professional fight experience, losing records, and several of whom are no longer active today.

Now, we all have to start somewhere, and this isn’t to say that Holm has been fighting cans. In the UFC she holds victories over Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau, and while Pennington has struggled and sits at just 5-5 as a pro, Reneau at least had been on a very impressive five fight win streak, with two of those coming under the UFC banner.

Yet Holm has fought tentatively since joining the promotion, fighting safe as opposed to showing the killer finishing instinct she displayed against lesser foes, and that’s telling. Perhaps it’s just erring on the side of caution so as not to kill her momentum and a potential title shot; perhaps it’s a sign that against stiffer competition, she needs more time to develop.

The latter would not be a bad idea. Time, however, is not on Holm’s side. When injury struck Robbie Lawler this week, it was announced Holm would face Rousey at UFC 193 in November, rather than at UFC 195 early next year as originally planned. Which means that she has even less time to prepare — and will be fighting outside of America for the first time in her pro career. Not just her MMA career, mind you. Her career as a professional fighter.

And there’s another case of too much, too fast, too soon. The vast majority of Holm’s pro boxing fights came in New Mexico, where she now trains at Jackson-Winklejohn after joining the team in 2007. This isn’t an argument about home cooking with judges or anything of the sort, however. When Holm switched to MMA, she moved around the U.S. a little, but thus far has not set foot outside of it, and thus has not had to deal with tiring travel, time differences, and jet lag. Those are serious concerns for a fighter being granted an early title shot against the best in the world.

Already a step or three behind Rousey, the deck is clearly stacked against her: she hasn’t had the proper development time a blue chip prospect should have. She hasn’t been given adequate time to prepare, and she’s simply not ready to take on the greatest female combat athlete the world has ever seen.

Last week, the UFC’s Joe Rogan made some similar comments, saying he didn’t agree with the fight, and that Amanda Nunes was the better option, the better fighter. He’s not wrong on this one. Nunes, a third fight with Tate, or the mythical match-up with Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino would all be better options at this point. Sadly, the UFC took the easy route with a marketable bout that features a lesser fighter. Not a bad fighter, mind you — just one not ready for her title shot.

Too much, too fast, too soon. This is a fight that should have happened in late 2016/early 2017, not the end of this year. As a result, the Rousey train will roll onward, and fans will continue to wonder who if anyone is ready to challenge her. In this case, the UFC only has themselves to blame, as they’re employing short term thinking at best.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.

  • Alex

    With Ronda saying she is considering retirement after she faces cyborg, it seems smart for the ufc t9 delay that fight as long as possible. Ronda and Connor are their 2 biggest stars. Connor appeals to the diehard mma fans and ronda opens up a whole new audience with her crossover appeal.

  • Joe T Baggerly

    I totally agree with the Author: Jay Anderson.
    It seems like the powers that ‘be’ feel like they have to keep Ronda busy with “Firewood”. Even if the wood is green, it will catch fire and burn quickly because of all the hot coals it’s being tossed on.(Holly Holm being the ‘green’ wood in this example)
    I am not a little disappointed with the management of the UFC for their disregard of fighters like Holly. Very sad indeed.
    Ronda is a High Speed Amtrak Train and Holly is a deaf mute walking between the rails with her back to an oncoming bullet.
    Another way to look at this:
    Holly is 33 and leaving her ‘prime’. No time like the present and anyway, you can NEVER be ready for Ronda. Just place your bets and roll the dice.

  • Autumn Rose

    My only problem with Jay Anderson’s piece is that he supposes all things are static except Holly Holm’s ability to improve with more time, Ronda’s is evolving at a much more rapid pace and one could make the argument that from Holly’s perspective that sooner rather than later is the smart move here. Another three or so fights worth of experience for Holly is also more time for Ronda to continue adding to her arsenal. Here is Holly’s real problem, she waited too long to make the transition to MMA. She’ll be 34 next month and 2016 she’ll be 35 etc. Had she chosen to follow Ronda’s path Holly would have made the the career switch in her early to mid twenties just as Ronda and even Joanna J did. Holly is not only competing with the women of MMA but she’s in a battle with Time as her days of being in her prime as an athlete get closer to expiring. As an athlete gets older and their best days are behind them it becomes harder to improve as fast as say Ronda who is just entering her prime time. I don’t believe that Holly is past her prime right now but that day is coming. So that’s my take on it, is it better to have waited for three or four more fights or is now the best shot Holly will ever have? How good can Ronda get, how much more can she improve when she is only now reaching her physical peak? Does Holly want to fight that future Ronda or is she better off fighting the Ronda that will show up in Nov. in Melbourne?

    • Juchi

      I wholeheartedly agree, Autumn. In addition to the points you bring up, there is the overriding business decision. In an ideal world, Holly would have to defeat one of the top 5 contenders in order to get a chance at the title. However, there is a good chance that she could lose to one of them. If she did, that would put off any chance for a title fight for her for some time. For the points you brought up, and to maximize potential financial gain for all involved, it is to the UFC’s, Ronda’s and indeed Holly’s benefit to fight sooner than later. If Ronda does stay in the fight game for some time, it makes the argument for a rematch easier as well by claiming Holly was put in there too soon, did not have sufficient training time and was inexperienced in fighting outside the U.S.

      • Autumn Rose

        Yes I agree with you. I failed to include the the financial’s, which are probably the primary driving force behind all fight promotion decisions. That’s why the Ronda v Holly fight trumps the Ronda v Miesha fight, it above all else makes the most business sense.

  • Juchi

    Not to say it in any way justifies the decision to have Holly fight Ronda, but it is interesting to note that Holly actually had her first professional MMA fight before Ronda did.

    On another note, the author mentions, “Holm’s record includes fighters with professional records including 1-1, 2-5, 4-2, 8-11, 6-8.” There’s another fighter that wants to challenge Ronda that has victories over fighters with professional records of 0-3, 0-1, 0-5, 1-8 and 6-5, and over at least 3 other fighters that moved up at least one weight division to fight her (one moved up two) and actually lost to a debuting fighter. You may have heard of her, Cris Justino, otherwise known as Cyborg. Like Holly, most (not all) of her other victories were against fighters whose victories were over opponents that were virtually unknown to most MMA fans.