Of Holly Holm's 11 fights inside the Octagon, five of them have been title fights, one defense and four attempts at winning gold -- two times at Bantamweight, and two times at Featherweight. Simply put, since winning the title in 2015 and then losing it months later, every other fight for Holm has been a shot at winning UFC gold.
And while there may be some chirping in the MMA world and on social media asking why "The Preacher's Daughter" is always one win away from a title fight, Holly says there's a reason.
“I’ve fallen short of getting that title back more than once, and it’s frustrating, but I know I keep fighting the very top-ranked girls, so I’m constantly right there,” Holm told MMA Junkie. “I’m still aching for it. I still want it. That’s a lot to say. Some people say, ‘Oh, I want the belt’ then they don’t really think about it. I know exactly how much work that takes to get there, and I know it took a big commitment.
“You’ve got to win fights along the way and when it comes, I can’t let the opportunity slip through my fingers again. Obviously it’s right there. I know people say, ‘Oh, she’s had plenty of title fights.’ There’s a reason: Because I keep fighting the best, and I keep staying right there. A lot of times I’m just one fight away. No matter what, I have Irene Aldana in front of me,” she added.
Indeed, Holm is set to face top-ranked contender Irene Aldana -- who has won five of her last six -- in the main even of an upcoming Fight Night card on Aug. 1. With a win, Holm believes another shot of adding a belt to her mantle is right around the corner. And for Holly, being numero uno is what its all about.
"It’s just knowing I’m No. 1,” Holm said. “It’s not necessarily the recognition to other people; it’s not trying to prove other people wrong. I worked so hard that I want to beat the best so that I can be the best. That’s it. When you have the belt on you, that means you beat the best, and that’s what I want. I want to be No. 1.”
Holm's last attempt at reclaiming the 135-pound title saw her come up short against current women's champ-champ, Amanda Nunes at UFC 239. And who knows, with a win over Aldana, Holly could very well get a rematch against “Lioness,” but at 145 pounds, assuming the promotion doesn't award it to Megan Anderson...or Nunes doesn't retire.
At the end of the day, if UFC keeps offering chances to win UFC gold, what is Holm supposed to say, “No thank you?"