LOS ANGELES -- Plenty of people think Holly Holm could be getting a UFC women's bantamweight title shot against Ronda Rousey before long. Raquel Pennington is not one of those people.
Pennington, who meets Holm in the co-main event of UFC 184 on Saturday here at Staples Center, doesn't think Holm has done enough to earn her status as a title contender.
"Honestly, I think it's a bunch of crap, if you ask me," Pennington said Thursday at UFC 184 media day. "I think there's a lot of women in the UFC. We've worked our butts off to get where we're at and I don't see it being very fair that she can go from boxing into MMA where nobody has really known about [her] fights."
Pennington (5-4) also doesn't think Holm is taking the fight against her seriously. The two were supposed to fight at UFC 181 on Dec. 6 until Holm got injured and had to pull out. After Pennington beat Ashlee Evans-Smith by first-round submission on the card, she asked the UFC to get the debuting Holm again. The promotion obliged.
"You know what has frustrated me for a while?" Pennington said. "When we were supposed to fight the first time, she was doing interviews and I feel like she was just looking completely past everything. She was definitely riding the hype train with it. She did some interviews where I don't even think she knew who she was fighting, it sounded like. She was calling me Jessica and then right away going on to a Ronda interview. It's something frustrating. I think you need to work your way up. You need to prove yourself."
"Rocky" will have a chance to show Holm the error of her ways Saturday night. Holm is a former three-division boxing champion, but hasn't fought anyone with the talent or experience Pennington has in MMA.
Not the toughness, either. Pennington, 26, has suffered through some devastating injuries in her life, including a broken back and two broken collarbones, and never gotten surgery. She has just powered through with rehab. It's no wonder that Pennington has never been knocked out. She doesn't believe Holm will do it, either -- even though Holm has finished six of her seven MMA opponents by KO.
"Holly Holm doesn't stop me," Pennington said. "The only person that can stop me is myself. So it'll be a fight. I don't see her hurting me in any shape or form. I think I've taken enough in life itself. She's just another person."
Pennington, a Colorado native, earned an academic scholarship to the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and studied pre-med before dropping out. She still wants to be a doctor, but her MMA career has usurped those plans for now.
"I just kind of figured that school is always there," Pennington said. "Fight careers are pretty short. I mean, I might as well live it to the fullest. But I do have the ambition and stuff and the goals to go back.
"I've always wanted to be Dr. Pennington."
That's a clear difference from her current profession, which involves quite a bit of pain -- for her and her opponent.
"We were making a joke about it," Pennington said. "I said that I was gonna be a professional fighter and I would take my business card and I'd pass them out and give them care."
Pennington plans on dishing out some of that against Holm. Pennington has always had power in her hands, but earlier in her career, even when she was on The Ultimate Fighter 18, the knock against her was that she didn't throw enough volume. Since training with Olympic boxers in Colorado Springs since November, that has all changed.
"I got to break down the sport," Pennington said. "Just really got to grow as an athlete. I've gotten way more comfortable with what my hands hold. Actually, I've been making jokes about the little bones in my hands; they can't handle my own power."
Pennington doesn't think Holm will be able to, either. And unlike what she believes Holm is doing, she's going to take things one step at a time.
"A win over Holly, it's obviously going to do great things for my fight career," she said. "She's riding a huge hype train into this. By the same token, I really think it's just going to boost things up [for me]. I'm not trying to focus on anything like that. This fight is what I gotta focus on and then I'll take what's next."