Holly Holm will look to keep her undefeated (8-0,1-0 UFC) streak intact when she takes on Marion Reneau later this evening (Weds., July 15, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 71 in San Diego, California.
Despite her impressive record, some weren't exactly "wowed" by her Octagon debut after defeating Raquel Pennington via split decision at UFC 184 earlier this year (see it). That's because living up to all the expectations others have heaped on her shoulders isn't exactly the easiest thing to do.
Still, Holm tells FOX Sports that she's been working on her technique and overall game ahead of her sophomore effort inside the Octagon.
"I knew that there was no way to live up to what everybody was expecting. There's a lot of criticism in this job and what we do. It's in front of everybody and for everybody to have their own opinion about what we do. Don't be in this position if you can't handle that criticism. It doesn't bother me one bit. I'm glad people think that I can do well. I always say I would rather that be the scenario than on the other end of it saying 'we thought she'd be real crappy.' I'll take the side that I'm on. I'll take that people think that I'm going to do well, they have faith in me and believe in me and that makes me feel stronger."
Aside from being privy to the great coaching staff at famed JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., she has top-quality teammates who are always there to lend a helping hand.
Among them is none other than former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who was stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely by the promotion earlier this year after being involved in a hit-and-run accident.
Despite dealing with that and looming legal issues, Holm says Jones has been a positive presence in the gym, always goes out of his way to help her -- or any other teammate -- improve their MMA games any chance he gets.
"I think Jon's always been a really supportive teammate. He's really put himself available since then. He's always been helpful. We don't train at the exact same hour. They finish right when we start and a lot of times he'll stay and watch the lightweights and he's said before 'this is the pay-per-view right here, I just watch this.' It doesn't matter who it is, he'll go up and say, 'hey you should try this, I think this will work for your style.' Jon's always a personable person and he's always pretty positive and he's got a great heart on him. Any time anybody gets to know him they really want the best for him. He has helped out a lot with my camp. I've been very positive. We're all positive about it. We all want great things for him."
In Jones' absence, Daniel Cormier was crowned the new division champion after forcing Anthony Johnson to tap at UFC 187.
As for Holm, she hopes to continue her straight path to a shot at UFC gold and a potential title fight against women's Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. According to her coach, "Preacher's Daughter" could be one more win away from reaching the big dance should she defeat Reneau inside Valley View Casino later tonight.
For more on UFC Fight Night 71 click here.