By Jonathan Solomon
She was one of the best female professional boxers of the past decade, and now, 31-year-old Holly Holm is prepared to focus all of her energy on building her mixed martial arts career.
The 14-time champion retired from boxing earlier this month when she defeated Mary McGee by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in New Mexico. She defended the IBA and WBF women’s light welterweight championships with that win for the first time after winning them in December. Her career record as a pugilist stands at 33-2-3 and she was able to avenge one of those losses when she defeated Anne Sophie Mathis last June.
Boxing’s loss proves to be MMA’s gain in this situation. Holm’s representatives had been in negotiations to book a boxing match against undefeated welterweight champion, Cecilia Braekhus. However, such talks never proved fruitful and now, the top women’s pound-for-pound boxer is looking to build her career inside the cage instead of the squared circle.
She made her MMA debut in 2011 and scored wins by TKO and KO against Christina Domke and Jan Finney . Unable to get back in the cage until earlier this year, she stopped Katie Merrill with punches in the second round of their bout at Bellator 91 in February.
One of the many students who work under Mike Winkeljohn at the much heralded Greg Jackson/Winkeljohn camp out of New Mexico, she has now signed a multi-fight contract with Legacy Fighting Championship, according to the organization.
Based out of Texas, she will debut under their banner at Legacy FC 21 on July 19 in Houston. Her opponent has yet to be announced, but whomever it turns out to be, you may be able to tune in and watch it live on AXS TV (if it makes the television portion of the card).
Legacy also made news recently when it signed featherweight Leonard Garcia, fresh off being released by the UFC. A recently departed member of the Jackson-Winklejohn team (he is now training out of Team Alpha Male in California), he will fight Rey Trujillo this summer.
While, ultimately, for all female bantamweights, the goal is to fight Ronda Rousey, the plan for Holm is to work her way up to that point. Given that she has only three fights worth of experience in the sport, she has some time to go before heading to the UFC becomes a realistic option.
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