Kevin Holland knows how to hold a grudge.
“Trailblazer” has only been a member of the UFC roster for two years, but he’s already made it a point to remember the slights his peers have made against him. And considering he hopes to compete in two weight classes, that’s a lot of potential rivalries for Holland.
Though Holland has yet to make the walk to the octagon as a 170-pounder (a May 30 welterweight bout with Daniel Rodriguez was cancelled due to a Holland injury), he’s already targeting one of the division’s most controversial fighters, “Platinum” Mike Perry. Holland said on the What the Heck? show that he took offense to Perry sniping at him on social media and that he has specific plans for how to deal with Perry should they fight.
“Mike Perry thinks I didn’t see the little, ‘What would happen if he gets hit by me?’ [comment]. Nothing,” Holland said. “I get hit by you, Mike Perry, nothing. Freakin’ 170er talking he’s gonna hurt me. Boy, I ate punches from Thiago Santos. I poop on Mike Perry.”
Holland is also unimpressed with Perry’s misbehavior outside of the cage, which includes recent video footage of Perry getting into an physical altercation at a restaurant in Lubbock, Texas.
“If you look at the thing that the UFC put up about last fight [I] didn’t get hit and they did a little post, on the comments Mike Perry commented on there, ‘What happens if he gets hit by me?’ Nothing,” Holland said. “What happens if you can’t hit me? What happens if I hit you? You will rattle, you will shake, and you will go to sleep.
“I don’t like Mike Perry. I thought he was cool at first, then he starts socking on old people in the beautiful state of Texas and now I’m like, let me smack on him. Be the smack man. Smack man, yeah, that’s me.”
For now, Holland competes in the middleweight division, where he has won four of his last five fights including a 39-second TKO win over Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez in his most recent outing. That finish garnered Holland a lot of attention, including a direct message from Derek Brunson that rubbed him the wrong way.
He elaborated on his beef with Brunson, as well as an ongoing feud with Marvin Vettori. Should he continue to win, Holland expects to be matched up with either man in the future.
“After my win with ‘Fluffy,’ (Brunson) messaged me saying he’d dump me on my head,” Holland said. “So I’ve been trying to confront him about this ‘dumping me on my head’ thing. He let me know he was just kind of reaching out. I think he was trying to get a training partner for the Shahbazyan fight since he was trying to get a partner for the Israel Adesanya fight, but I don’t play those games, you don’t play those games.
“Just let it be known, f**k Derek Brunson, f**k Marvin Vettori. There’s a few guys at 185 that’s made it a little bit more—You shouldn’t message me, you shouldn’t play with me like I’m a kid or something like that. At 185 I feel like it’s f**k a lot of them, so I kind of wouldn’t mind staying here and smacking on some people that I just really honestly started not to like.”
Before Holland can move on to more high-profile opponents though, he has to deal with Bellator veteran and UFC newcomer Joaquin Buckley this Saturday at UFC Vegas 6. This will be a short-notice bout for both men, with Holland looking to get into the cage as soon as possible after a bout with Trevin Giles this past Saturday fell through when Giles fainted backstage moments before their main card bout was to air on ESPN+ (a last-second switch-up with Ed Herman also failed to materialize).
Holland didn’t have any invective for the lesser known Buckley, but did promise to give him a less-than-warm welcome on fight night.
“I realize he’s left-handed, I realize I’ve got the reach advantage,” Holland said of Buckley. “I realize my strengths, I realize his strengths and then I realize my weaknesses, I realize his weaknesses, and at the end of the day let’s see who can exploit what first. I wish I knew him a little better, but it wouldn’t be the first time I fought somebody like him.
“He fought a local guy in Justin Patterson, I heard he won the fight, I heard it was a good fight. Anytime you fight a local guy and you don’t completely put him away or you have a tough fight, it gives me extreme confidence going forward. Looking at the Buckley situation, like I said, let’s go Buck-o and we will go. Let’s see what he has to offer. I’m excited about it. Congratulations, welcome to the UFC. It should be a rude awakening.”