Oh, how quickly fortunes can change in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Indeed, 2020 saw Kevin Holland become a “Fighter of the Year,” winning five (FIVE!) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fights in just seven months, including four finishes and three “Performance of the Night” bonuses.
Then came 2021, and two decision losses in a row, both on account of poor wrestling and some bad striking habits that allowed that poor wrestling to be exploited. If you watched the second loss to Marvin Vettori (highlights here), you heard Daniel Cormier on commentary talking about how Holland needed to dust up on his ground skills. He even offered to help the guy level up.
Holland said he’d take up “DC” on the offer, and it was not just idle talk from either side. Now, Holland is down at American Kickboxing Academy (A.K.A.) training with Cormier, and the former Olympian has posted this video following day one of what we assume was a humbling wrestling class.
“I’m very proud of Kevin Holland for taking the first step,” Cormier wrote on Instagram. “Not only is he here, he’s available and wants to work. He will wrestle again tomorrow then he will be at the greatest gym in the world American Kickboxing Academy with the guys.”
“Acknowledging your issues then finding a way to deal with ‘em takes a lot of maturity. His coaches at home are the best, too, not trying to stop Kevin from trying to find better, we can help him in his wrestling. Travis Lutter has always been the man and he is showing by letting him come to train with me that he is the type of coach you want, the type that puts the athlete first!!!
“Onward and upward young man!” Cormier continued. “I can’t wait for you to shock em with some takedown defense next time you’re in there.”
All that violence we saw from Kevin Holland in 2020, all that explosive power and impressive aggression from unusual positions, that’s all still there. It’s just being smothered these days by fighters who had a buttload of tape to watch on Holland and have used it to take him down and keep him from being his deadly self.
Honestly, we’re excited to see what some time at A.K.A. with Cormier does. Anyone who can’t take down Holland is in danger, and we think the list of people who can is about to get a lot shorter.