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Holly Holm has a message for her critics, hopes to fight again this year

Since she dropped a unanimous decision against Valentina Shevchenko back in July, former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm has been laying pretty low. Yet over the last few weeks, Holm has been popping back up here and there. Last week, Holm was in San Diego to watch her beloved Denver Broncos take on the San Diego Chargers.

On Monday, she was a guest on The MMA Hour, and she said she was getting through some appearances and commitments now before she gets back into specified training for her next bout. Her travel schedule has been all over North America in the last couple of weeks, fulfilling sponsor obligations and guest appearances.

"[My trip to] New York was a thing for Vera Bradley," she said. "Canada was a thing for a new sportsplex they are putting together and they had guests there. Florida was for a sponsor. Las Vegas was for a sponsor for the Mr. Olympia show. Los Angeles was for some meetings. It’s kind of a lot of random stuff."

Yet Holm, who celebrated her 35th birthday on Monday, said she is anxious to get back to her "passion" again more than anything. Having suffered a broken thumb against Shevchenko, she estimates she is "80 percent" recovered, and says she’s been staying in shape, sparring regularly using her left hand for a while now with the Jackson-Winkeljohn team in Albuquerque.

Holm has had a tumultuous 2016, having dropped back-to-back losses after her stunning knockout victory over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015. She lost her title against Miesha Tate back in March at UFC 196, then was upset by Shevchenko at UFC on FOX 20 in Chicago.

Her decision to stay busy and fight while Rousey was on an extended hiatus from the Octagon had some fans criticizing her, and Holm says that those critics just don’t realize what she’s all about.

"It is annoying because a lot of people that do that, I don’t think they ever listen to all these others kind of interviews or articles or anything that come out for me. I like to fight," she said. "I don’t know why people think that I’m taking fights for money. It drives me crazy. I wanted to fight because I wanted to get in there and fight, it had nothing to do if I should have waited for this money fight or that money fight. It’s not why I fight.

"And, so whatever people say I guess is their own opinion that has nothing to do with what I shoot for or what my goals are. I always tell myself I’m never going to fight for money, only for passion. And I want to stay true to that. And that’s what I was doing, is fighting because I wanted to fight. That’s it."

The "money fight" in question was the rematch with Rousey, which would have done massive numbers had it happened in 2016 (and still can in the future). After 13-months away, Rousey is finally making her return at UFC 207 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas against current champion Amanda Nunes.

Asked if she was disappointed not to get a rematch with Rousey next, Holm was humble.

"You know, honestly, I don’t feel like I’m in a spot to say what I want," she said. "I didn’t have good performances in my last two fights, so why should I sit here and walk around and say what I deserve? I've never done that in my career anyway. I’m curious to watch the fight and see how it turns out, but I’m not by any means pissed off about it or anything. I’ll just have to…I just want to keep training and win whatever fight might come my way, and that’s it."

Holm said she was confident that she would have information on her next fight in the coming weeks, after she is given the green light to train at full strength from her doctor. She said it was "definitely likely" we could see her fight again before 2016 finishes.

"I’m sure we’ll schedule something in the next few weeks," she said. 
"I know [the UFC] probably don’t want to set something 100 percent until I’m 100 percent released to train. I think we’re getting close to figuring that out, but definitely no specific answer right now."

As for whom she would like to face now that Rousey has a dance partner, Holm said she didn’t have anybody specifically on her mind.

"No, I just want to fight, and I want to win," she said. "That’s my goal. That’s really as simple as I want to think. What fight it is, it really doesn’t matter to me. I want to win just as badly whether it’s on a big card or not. I want to win even if it’s not on TV. Even in practice, I still want to punch my teammates more than they hit me. That’s the name of the game. I am just focused on a victory, and that’s it."

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