Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm revealed to Heavy on Tuesday that what she did in transitioning from being a boxing champion to becoming a UFC superstar was way harder than what Conor McGregor will attempt to do in his boxing match against Manny Pacquiao next year.
“I think that it’s definitely easier to go from MMA to boxing,” Holm said. “How could it not be?”
Holm: ‘I Do Think Its Easier’
Holm said MMA fighters already know how to throw punches whereas boxers usually don’t know a thing about wrestling or Jiu-Jitsu. Still, Holm said both were challenging in their own way.
“Well, taking nothing away from Conor going into boxing at all, it is definitely a challenge to go from one to the other. With that being said, I do think that it’s easier to go from MMA to boxing than it is to go from boxing to MMA,” Holm said.
As the only person in combat sports history to win a legitimate world title in boxing and a UFC championship, Holm would be the only expert in the field.
The former pound-for-pound queen of women’s boxing (Holm twice was named Female boxer of the year by Ring Magazine) said there’s just so much she had to learn moving over from the boxing ring to the MMA cage that McGregor won’t have to worry about moving the other way.
“In MMA, you already learned boxing…so you already have that background. You already have that boxing basis because…you’ve been throwing punches,” Holm said.
But Holm said wrestling was something she had never done before she decided to become an MMA fighter and had never really even thought about before.
“When I was doing boxing, I was never wrestling at all. I knew nothing about it,” Holm said. “Going into MMA, I had a lot to learn. I think, going from MMA to boxing, it’s more like, ‘Okay, now let’s just sharpen our skills that we already have in this art.'”
McGregor Must Overcome Huge Challenges Against Pacquiao
Another advantage McGregor will have is that he’s already competed at the highest level of the sport. McGregor suffered a 10th-round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in 2017, but there’s sure to be many things he learned in that experience that could help carry him forward.
“You already have knowledge of this thing,” Holm said. “So with that being said, you still have to do a lot of catching up in the fact that…you don’t have as many tools.”
So McGregor’s biggest challenges will likely be the same that he faced against Mayweather. McGregor’s natural instincts might tell him to grab or kick or elbow Pacquiao, but he’ll need to keep himself operating under boxing’s stricter ruleset if he wants to win the fight.
On top of that, McGregor will need to be ready to keep punching for 12 full rounds.
“I think, maybe the challenge: ‘Well now I only have two arms and I better figure out how I can use all these different aspects and open up, create openings.’ Boxers can be real defensive. It’s hard to create openings sometimes,” Holm said.
Holm said conditioning becomes more important as each round wears on. Indeed, McGregor started fast against Mayweather three years ago in that superfight but couldn’t quite keep up the pace.
“And guess what, when you’re tired and your arms feel like they weigh a hundred pounds each, you still can only punch them,” Holm said. “So those are some of the challenges that boxing brings that MMA does not.”
Holm: ‘You Never Know What You’re Going To See From Him
Still, like most boxing and MMA fans, Holm said she was intrigued by the idea of seeing McGregor in a boxing match against Pacquiao. Moreover, Holm believes McGregor is the right kind of MMA fighter to make the move.
“There’s challenges that come into it, but Conor’s already got a great boxing sense from MMA,” Holm said. “So he’s definitely one of those that can crossover to boxing, and you never know what you’re going to see from him.”
Holm returns to the Octagon against Irene Aldana on October 4 at The Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
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