Kevin Holland wants to keep the momentum in his favor following UFC on ESPN 8.
Following a first-round TKO win over Anthony Hernandez this past Saturday night in Jacksonville, Holland called for a quick turnaround fight at 170-pounds with Mickey Gall. “Trail Blazer” has been eyeing a return to the welterweight division for some time now and in a recent appearance on MMA Fighting’s What the Heck, he doubled down on the request to fight Gall—which seemed to be an idea the UFC was discussing.
Should it not happen, Holland has other ideas.
“I think it’s in the works,” Holland said. “If he accepts the fight, that’s dope because I’m gonna accept it. I’m willing to fight.
“If he doesn’t—and in two to three weeks they need someone to go again—and something happens with the (Marvin) Vettori fight, I know I’m supposed to be committed to the 170 thing right now, I want Marvin Vettori. It’s probably not the smartest fight to take, but he was running his mouth. So for me, it would be the smartest to take if it comes around. I’ll take it.
“Wherever the wind blows, I would love to take the Mickey Gall fight, but Vettori? I kind of think he’s a dumb fighter. That would be a fun fight.”
Vettori was scheduled to face Karl Roberson at UFC Jacksonville before “Baby K” was hospitalized after missing weight for the fight. That lead to a heated discussion in the fighter hotel lobby and it seems like the promotion has rebooked that fight for June 13.
Holland was able to bounce back from a second-round submission loss to Brendan Allen at October’s UFC Boston event. Needing just over 90-seconds to get the job done, the Travis Lutter BJJ product is fresh and ready to get back on the horse. With that, it seems like idea of a fight with Gall was not a coincidence.
“I called him out for a reason,” Holland said with a smile on his face. “I would like that fight. I think they like that fight. It’s just a matter if Gall is gonna take the fight or not.
“If it was me and somebody said my name while I was watching the fights, I would’ve said, ‘Hey, tweet him.’ I don’t run my Twitter so I would’ve told my manager to tweet him. I’m gonna fight. But I didn’t see that yet so I’m kind of questioning the boy. Let me know if I need to eat salads, or if I need to eat steak.”
The 27-year-old Texas native improved his promotional record to 4-2 with the victory. In the eyes of many in the MMA community, Saturday’s performance was one they were waiting for from the athletically talented Holland.
While he picked up his first finish via strikes in his UFC career, Holland isn’t allowing himself to get too excited.
“It’s just one fight,” Holland explained. “Let me get three or four in a row. That’s more so what I’m worried about. One fight, I don’t really feel like it makes a big difference. I’m still coming off a loss and I still got choked out. I just finished a guy that beat a guy that finished me. It’s good, but it’s not good enough.
“If I can come back in (less than) two weeks against Mickey Gall and I beat him, I think that makes up for it. We can argue who has better jiu-jitsu, Allen or Gall. I feel like that would be dope. I mean, damn, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I submit Mickey Gall? Everybody’s like, ‘You’re gonna knock him out.’ What if I tap him out? That would be pretty dope.”
The idea of a fight with Gall comes from a competitive place. When it comes to Vettori, it’s much more personal. At his UFC on ESPN 8 post-fight media scrum, Holland went off on Vettori, calling him a snake—along with other NSFW terms.
Holland admits he’s surprised he didn’t get a response from Gall in regards to Saturday’s night’s call out, but if Vettori can make 185, that works for him.
“If something happens where Mickey Gall is too scared to fight, or he has something going on, I don’t know,” Holland stated. “I haven’t heard nothing back, yet. As far as I’m concerned, I called him out in the cage and I’m pretty sure he was watching the fights. I thought I would get a tweet right then and there. If we can’t do that, then I’m all ready for 185.
“Can Marvin Vettori cut weight in two weeks, again? I don’t know. He was drinking in the lobby. Maybe his body can’t handle it. He’s trying to fight at 205. It was weird. You could’ve campaigned hard for me that day, but instead you campaigned for Neil Magny at 205, a 170-pound guy.”
In the end, Holland doesn’t care if he fights Gall, Vettori, or anyone else in the middleweight or welterweight divisions. When asked if he feels confident that he’ll compete within the next few weeks, Holland isn’t overly optimistic but is ready to go.
“I’m 50-50 right now,” Holland said. “Maybe it will be May 30, maybe it will be the week after. Maybe tomorrow at the gym if Marvin Vettori wants a plane ticket out here, I’ll pay for it. Who knows? I want smoke. I know that much. I want to fight.”