When Holm steps inside the Octagon to meet Tate this weekend it will have been less than four months since the newly minted bantamweight champion dethroned the previously untouchable UFC poster girl Ronda Rousey.
Will Holm continue her dominance and prove she’s not a one-hit wonder or will Tate derail the undefeated champ to get a third shot at Rousey?
Introducing the fighters:
Holly Holm may be most famous for her head kick knockout of Rousey but the ‘Preacher's Daughter’ has a long list of accomplishments and a crowded trophy cabinet, most notably her UFC and boxing titles.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holm first slipped on the boxing gloves in her late teens as a way to keep fit for soccer. It was at age 20 that she would compete in her first amateur kickboxing competition, winning by knockout in just 34 seconds. The rest, as they say, is history.
Under the tutelage of championship coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, Holm has defended an amazing 16 world titles across three weight classes and is widely regarded as one of the greatest female boxers of all time. She is a two-time Ring Magazine 'Female Fighter of The Year' recipient (2005 and 2006) and also a member of the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame.
When Holm decided to make the transition into mixed martial arts (MMA) she did so with a 33-2-3 professional boxing record and a 3-1 professional kickboxing record. Naturally the sceptics questioned just how far Holm could go considering she had next to no experience in wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Needless to say, the 34-year-old has proven them wrong again and again.
Holm made her professional MMA debut in 2011 and went 7-0 before signing the dotted line with the UFC at the beginning of 2015. It would take only two wins inside the UFC's eight-sided cage before Holm would get a shot at Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight title - a fight she dominated from start to devastating finish, defeating the enigmatic Rousey in the second round of UFC 193.
In victory, Holm became the first mixed martial artist in UFC history to hold both a boxing world title and a UFC world title at the same time and became the undisputed golden girl of the promotion.
Tate is undoubtedly one of the pioneers of women’s MMA and has been fighting for the UFC's women's bantamweight division since its inception in 2013.
Tate started out as a high school wrestler in Washington where she won a state championship in her senior year; a base that has served her well throughout her MMA career that has spanned the better part of 10 years.
Tate first made a name for herself in Strikeforce, a promotion that was later acquired by the UFC, eventually becoming the 135-pound champion for the California-based company after a victory over seasoned Dutch fighter Marloes Coenen via submission (choke) in 2011.
Four months later, Tate would face Rousey for the first time in what was a highly anticipated title fight. Rousey was only new on the MMA scene at this stage but had made an immediate impact in the sport after controversially talking herself into a title fight with ‘Cupcake’ after only four professional MMA bouts.
We all know how the story ends. Rousey would beat Tate not once but twice, the second time coming in the UFC, and in both instances via her signature move, the armbar.
There’s no shortage of love lost between the two and Tate is chomping at the bit to get another crack at the ‘Rowdy’ one after being overlooked last year for a third title fight with the UFC’s biggest star.
But first, Tate will need to get through Holm. The wrestler who poses an interesting match-up for the boxer is on a four-fight win streak and brings a ton of heart, confidence and resilience to the table in what will no doubt be a gritty fight to the end.
If Holm is successful in defending her belt against Tate it will set up a rematch with Rousey, which is expected to take place before the close of the year.
The world will be watching eagerly to see if Rousey can make a come back from the shocking upset she faced last year and regain her place at the top of the bantamweight division, cementing herself as the greatest female mixed martial artist in the history of the sport.
Should Tate gets the win against Holm it will raise the question as to whether or not Rousey should fight for the title straight away, in yet another rematch with Tate, or if the former champion should fight Holm and take away any doubt in fans minds that she is the better fighter.
The curve ball
The suspected number one contender fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes will also take place on the main card of UFC 196. The prolific strikers are set to put on a show with the winner becoming the front runner for a title fight should the UFC opt to have one more before Rousey returns. If this happens there may very well be a new champion in the mix.