LOS ANGELES — Holly Holm flew to Las Vegas two days before UFC 200. She went there to train with her coaches, who were in town cornering fighters. But the former UFC women's bantamweight champion also would have watched her teammate and friend Jon Jones face Daniel Cormier in the UFC 200 had the fight gone down.
On July 6, the UFC announced that Jones had been pulled from the main event title fight due to a failed out-of-competition drug test. Holm said she was on a run in the Las Vegas heat when Jones addressed the media the morning of July 7. She didn't watch.
"I don't really like to focus on a lot of negative media," Holm said at a media lunch this week. "No offense, but I don't read a lot of media. I really don't."
It's hard to really blame her, especially in this instance. Holm has a huge main event fight of her own Saturday against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC on FOX 20 in Chicago. A victory will put her right back in the title conversation. Holm said Jones' situation has not been a distraction for her or her JacksonWink MMA team in Albuquerque.
"There's always a lot going on, but when it comes to the actual gym, we get there and we work out hard and we train hard," Holm said. "Jon has actually been in the gym working out. He said he doesn't want to let anything stop him. We'll see what comes of the situation."
Jones has been a big part of Holm's last few camps, especially the one prior to her UFC 193 fight with Ronda Rousey, which Holm won by second-round knockout. The two are close, frequently posting Instagram videos with each other in it.
Jones, 29, is appealing the potential USADA anti-doping violation and claiming he did not knowingly cheat. His team has stated that Jones might have taken the banned substances unknowingly. Holm wants to be supportive of her teammate.
"I always want the best for Jon," Holm said. "He's always been very supportive and I feel like he's so much better and more patient than me in a lot of situations.
"I know how much he genuinely cares to do well and be well. I hope everything turns out well and we'll see what happens."
Holm, 34, knows all about USADA. She has been tested 15 times, more than any other athlete on the UFC roster, she said. But Holm said performance-enhancing drugs have never been on her radar.
"I want to know that I didn't need help," Holm said. "I want to know that I did it on my own. Because I feel like if I needed the help, it would be more of a mental thing, that I didn't believe in myself. So for me, it's never been something I thought to do. And then it also keeps the stress off of me. I don't have to worry about it when they show up at my doorstep at 6 a.m."
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