Holly Holm has said since the UFC 196 post-fight press conference that she wanted a rematch with Miesha Tate. Her manager Lenny Fresquez made that known multiple times to UFC brass over the last month.
That has never been in question. Holm badly wanted the rematch, for sure. But the former champ also believes that most observers wanted it, too.
Tate beat Holm in the co-main event March 5 in one of the best women's fights in MMA history. Holm was winning on the cards going into the fifth round only for Tate to drag her down and choke her out with just minutes remaining. Tate is the only challenger in UFC history to come from behind and finish in a final round.
All of those factors make Holm feel more than ever that a rematch with Tate was the fight to make.
"As far as how she won the belt, it wasn't like she was just dominating me," Holm told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I was ahead. I was winning that fight. And yeah, she totally had round two and dominated round two. But in my eyes and I think most people's eyes, that's why a rematch made sense. It wasn't like really one-sided. I felt like I was winning and she came with a submission in the end. I don't see why they wouldn't want to see a rematch with something like that."
Holm, 34, was disappointed by the news and now doesn't know where she fits in. Everyone else ranked highly is booked up. And "The Preacher's Daughter" still wants to fight Tate again for the belt, even if she has to wait.
"That's what's frustrating about it," Holm said. "It's like, 'Man, I want to fight for that rematch, but that might be a while. I might have to start seeing if they want to give me a different fight."
Holm said she would have considered fights with Julianna Pena and Cat Zingano, but those two were booked against each other for UFC 200. A rematch with Ronda Rousey and even a fight with Cris Cyborg are also on Holm's radar.
But none of those, to her, are as important or desirable as another showdown with Tate. She's rooting for Tate to beat Nunes in July.
"I would like to rematch Miesha and I would like it to be for the belt, because who wouldn't want to get that back?" Holm said. "So I guess that's what I would want. I want her to win, still have the belt, so I could rematch her and get the belt. I would rematch her regardless. But it would be even sweeter if it was for the belt. So I hope she wins. And anybody that beats me, better beat everybody else."
Last week, there was some confusion over who wanted what and why Holm didn't get the rematch. Fresquez said the UFC told him that Tate wanted Nunes. Tate has said the UFC was the one who brought up Nunes. Tate's manager Josh Jones said Holm's name and a rematch were "never discussed."
"I don't know if it was Miesha that wanted to decide to have a different fight or if it was the UFC wanting a different matchup," Holm said. "I don't know. I know that I was asking for it and my management was constantly talking to the UFC. I guess I just have to be patient."
And that's not what Holm wants to do. If we know anything about the Albuquerque native it's that she wants to fight as much as possible. That's why she took on Tate in the first place rather than waiting for the guaranteed payday of a Rousey rematch.
"I would hope that she would want to give me the chance like I gave her the chance," Holm said of Tate. "I like to take responsibility for a lot of the things that I do. I'm the one that lost the belt, so I feel like I lost a lot of my pull of what I can wish and hope for and push for.
"I was hoping that she would give me that chance, but she's also got her own career. She's gonna focus on what she wants to aspire to do. I can't really judge her for that either."
All Holm can do now is get back to the gym, train and wait for what's next. If Tate or Nunes fall injured and can't make UFC 200, Holm will be right there waiting.
"You never know," she said. "Somebody could get hurt, I guess. I'm gonna keep training and be ready."
The Tate rematch and the title are just out of reach right now, though Holm still thinks that was the smart play. Conor McGregor is getting a rematch of his UFC 196 fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 200 and Holm believes her versus Tate made even more sense.
"I felt like our fight had more competitiveness than the main event that night," Holm said. "Yes, I lost my belt, but I was winning the fight. ... I kind of lost a lot of my pull on what I would like to do. I really felt like that was the fight the fans wanted to see. I felt like that was a good rematch to put together."