Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey didn’t shake hands at the weigh-ins before UFC 193. Come fight time, Rousey refused to touch gloves with the former dominant female champion. But once the world was turned upside down and Holm found herself with the women’s 135-pound title wrapped around her waist, the two finally embraced.
The new champion held the former, seen speaking a few words into the fallen fighter’s ears following her first professional defeat. Sitting down on Larry King Now, Holm revealed what those words were (h/t MMAFighting).
“I just said, ‘You know I really admire you for being such a great, dominant champion. None of us would be here without you, so I appreciate you.'”
Holm defeated the previously undefeated Rousey in the second round of their main event in Melbourne, Australia. In front of a record-setting crowd and a nearly record-setting pay-per-view audience, Holm did what few people outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico thought she would do: win.
But those expectations were less to do with Holm’s abilities as much as they focused on Rousey’s invincible aura — an aura that carried women’s mixed martial arts to heights never believed possible.
“I think she’s done great for the sport, because she’s so passionate about what she does and carries this confidence about her,” Holm said. “Everybody has their own ways of dealing with their emotions in the sport.”
Holm and Rousey are expected to face off once more in a rematch sometime in 2016. If Rousey gets her wish (requested prior to her loss), she’ll step back into the cage at UFC 200 in July.