weather icon Clear

UFC 219 headliner Holly Holm ready for second chance at history

Updated December 4, 2017 - 11:07 pm

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm believes most of Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s opponents are beaten before they ever step in the cage.

That won’t be the case for Holm when she challenges Justino for the women’s featherweight belt in the main event of UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 30.

“I feel like I’m a style she hasn’t faced and I also feel I’m a different person altogether than what she’s faced,” Holm said of her opponent, who has won 18 straight fights since losing her pro debut — with only one going the distance. “A lot of these girls just get in there and they’re already wondering when she’s going to stop them by overwhelming them with punches. That is not my mindset. I want to finish her.

“I’m not going for a participation ribbon.”

She’s looking to take the belt that would make her the first two-division female champion in UFC history.

“I’d love it because it hasn’t been done and I’m always trying to do things that haven’t been done,” said Holm, who was more than a 12-to-1 underdog when she handed Ronda Rousey the first loss of her career to win the bantamweight title in 2015. “But even if there was no belt, I still want to beat her so badly.”

Holm had a chance to win the featherweight belt when it was created earlier this year. She fought Germaine de Randamie to determine the first champion because Justino was dealing with a potential doping violation, which did not not result in a suspension.

Holm believed she had done enough to win the belt, but she hasn’t spent much time dwelling on what could have been.

“A lot of people thought I won and I thought I won, but in my mind I still know I could have done more,” Holm said. “I felt like I did more than she did, but there’s things I know I did wrong. Rather than sulk about not winning, it’s more constructive to learn from what I did wrong and use it to get better.”

Tickets are now on sale for the fight, which will headline a UFC 219 card that includes a lightweight contender bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza.

Ngannou speaks out

Francis Ngannou’s crushing right uppercut knocked out Alistair Overeem on the UFC 218 card in Detroit and sent a message to heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.

Ngannou, however, saved his most powerful sentiment for the postfight news conference where he spoke out about recent reports and undercover videos of Nigerian men being sold on the streets of Libya.

“I want to dedicate this victory to all my brothers in Libya who are treated as slaves on this day,” he said. “This is not very fair. I feel really bad for that. That is criminal. Excuse me for my words, but I just want to say (expletive) slavery, (expletive) racists, (expletive) racism. Claim the freedom, claim the liberty.”

Ngannou is a native of Cameroon who spent time as a young adult homeless in Paris. The 31-year-old rising star now lives and trains in Las Vegas.

St. Pierre confirms illness

UFC middleweight champion Georges St. Pierre confirmed he is suffering from ulcerative colitis.

He confirmed the diagnosis on his Facebook page Saturday morning, hours after UFC president Dana White had revealed the news to reporters following “The Ultimate Fighter” 26 Finale card at Park Theater at the Monte Carlo.

“I now understand the health issues that I had during my last training camp,” St. Pierre wrote. “I hoped my condition would improve after the fight but unfortunately it got worse and I had to go straight to the hospital for a colonoscopy when I came back from vacation last Wednesday.”

St. Pierre returned from four years out of action to win the belt with a victory over Michael Bisping last month. The illness casts even more doubt on St. Pierre taking on interim champ Robert Whittaker in a unification bout.

“I am now taking medication that will hopefully appease the symptoms,” St. Pierre wrote. “My health is my #1 priority right now. I’m still a very happy man, thanks for your support!!!”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
White: I'm looking for different things on this show - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White spoke with media following the second episode of the third season of his show "Dana White's Contender Series". He explained why he signed the two fighters he did after their performances and discussed the heat he's taking for not signing Brendan Loughnane last week. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge - Video
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge - Video
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Ferguson beats Donald Cerrone by TKO at UFC 238

Tony Ferguson’s path to the lightweight title is becoming clear. Ferguson won by technical knockout after a medical stoppage in a lightweight fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 on Saturday night.