Holly Holm returns to action this weekend for the first time since a late round loss to Miesha Tate earlier this year which saw her lose the title she had won so spectacularly against Ronda Rousey last November at UFC 193. At UFC on Fox 20 Saturday night, she’ll be taking on the relatively unheralded Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of the evening. On paper, it’s a mismatch. In reality, it’s just a way to put a big name fighter back in title contention. Matchmaking 101. If an upset happens, it’s the talk of the town. If it goes down as expected, you have a major player back in the mix.

Low risk high reward. For the UFC, anyway. For Holm, the stakes are a little higher.

In 2020, the last thing Holly Holm wants to be is a trivia question: Who was the first fighter to dethrone Ronda Rousey? That’s where things stand right now. She was a champ who didn’t defend her belt. Oh, Miesha Tate might be in the same boat, but she was also Strikeforce champ, and a pioneer. Holm? The jury is still out. Did she just have the perfect style to down Rousey? Or is she really on the same level as other dominant champs? Which was the one-off, the Rousey fight, or the Tate fight?

Actual headlines this week, outside MMA circles, have run with “The woman who beat Ronda Rousey is back” — in short, that’s what Holm is to the mainstream media and general public right now. She’s not Holly Holm, former UFC champion, but “that girl” who beat Rousey.

Not cool. Frankly, Holm is better than that. She just needs to show it, and the only way to show it, is to beat Shevchenko (lets be honest, that should not be an issue) and go get her title back.

With Rousey still in exile from the division, Nunes vs. Holm is the fight to make if Holm is victorious Saturday night. That’s a must win fight for Holm, which makes Shevchenko a must win fight for her in turn. The only other money fight out there, beyond this path to the title, is an eventual rematch with Ronda Rousey, but it remains to be seen if that will ever happen. Frankly, there’s a good chance it may not.

So Holly Holm’s path to redemption starts Saturday. Don’t be surprised if she makes a rather stunning statement in the cage that night. Because despite being known mostly for beating Rousey, she really is that good.

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.