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Holly Holm: Raquel Pennington fight could be a 'lose/lose situation'

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Esther Lin

TORRANCE, Calif. -- Holly Holm understands what's at stake when she steps into the Octagon on Saturday night.

The former three-weight-class world boxing champion makes her long-awaited UFC debut against Raquel Pennington in the co-main event of UFC 184 at Staples Center.

Holm comes into the fight highly touted and a heavy favorite. Between her boxing credentials and her 7-0 MMA record with six finishes, the Jackson/Winkeljohn's fighter understands she's been hyped as a potential challenger to UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

She also understands that with such fanfare, viewers will also expect her to blast Pennington in short order.

And Holm's not afraid to admit that's a bit of a tough spot.

"I feel like I've been in a little bit of a lose/lose situation," Holm said during Wednesday's UFC 184 open workouts at the UFC Gym, "because I don't know if the expectations are so high that I couldn't meet that."

Holm compared her UFC debut to a blockbuster movie everyone's been talking about.

"You know, you go to a movie that everyone talks about and you go ‘oh, that wasn't that great,'" she said. "But then you go to a movie that's not really that talked about and you're like, you don't have a perception of how that was supposed to be."

So how will Holm manage the expectations as she steps into the cage with the 5-foot-4 Pennington? The old standby: Focus on the things you can control and let go of the rest.

"Probably the hardest thing I'm focusing on, is just making sure I'm fighting my fight, and not feeling like I have to do this thing that takes me out of my comfort zone," Holm said. "I want to do my thing like I always do and that's just perform and go by the game plan. If people like it, they like it."