Holly Holm unlikely to fight at UFC 300 if Kayla Harrison is over 135 pounds: ‘You need to make weight’

Holly Holm is excited to welcome Kayla Harrison to the bantamweight division. And she means bantamweight.

Much of the conversation around Holm’s upcoming bout with Harrison scheduled for UFC 300 on April 13 has swirled around whether Harrison can make the cut down to 135 pounds. The two-time PFL champion’s tournament titles were both won competing in the 155-pound division and she has weighed in at the 145-pound limit just once.

Holm, a former UFC bantamweight champion, speculated on how a difficult cut could affect Harrison and whether she will still take the fight if her opponent misses weight.

“I think that there’s a lot of details around that,” Holm said on The MMA Hour. “Somebody can be depleted, but somebody can be faster if they’re not carrying around extra weight too. So I guess we’ll just see what happens when we get in there and we get to the fight. I don’t really know her history, I don’t think she’s ever missed weight. So I think she can be professional about it. As long as it’s not one of those things where it’s like, ‘I’ll get close enough and then hopefully still get the fight,’ nothing like that. Be professional about it and make weight and we’re ready to rock and roll.”

“I’m on the stance that you need to make weight, that’s just how it is,” Holm added when asked about a potential catchweight situation. “I think that her mind set should be on, ‘I’m going to make weight,’ because she took the fight at 135. So I think it’s simple. I don’t think it should be super detailed.

“You think about the fight with ‘Wonderboy’ [Stephen Thompson], his opponent came in three pounds over and people were like, ‘Oh, it’s only three pounds.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, if it’s only three pounds, then go lose the three pounds.’ You know what I mean? There’s two ways to look at it. It’s only this or it’s only that. You can look at it from a lot of different angles, but as a professional, find out how to make weight. I work hard to make my weight, so I expect the same.”

In addition to holding UFC gold at 135 pounds, Holm has also competed for the featherweight title and won world titles in boxing, never competing much lower than her natural weight class. She’s confident that Harrison and her team know what they’re doing with the bantamweight move, even if she can’t picture herself attempting a similarly dramatic cut.

“I don’t really know what she walks around at, how much water she drops, I don’t know all those details,” Holm said. “But for me, it’s like if somebody was to tell me I’ve got to go to 125, I couldn’t make 125. So you think about that and that is a concern but I feel like she’s a professional, not just in MMA but obviously in professional sports in her judo and everything, so I give that confidence in her that she’s going to make weight.”

Holm looks to bounce back from a disappointing no-contest this past July against Mayra Bueno Silva, who actually submitted Holm but later saw the result overturned after testing positive for a banned substance (ADHD medication that Silva has been using throughout her career). That leaves Holm with only one official loss in her past four outings.

She’s more than familiar with the current bantamweight champion, the recently crowned Raquel Pennington. “Rocky” defeated Silva via decision at UFC 297 to claim a vacant title, meaning that the fighter at the top of the division is a woman that Holm has already defeated twice. Given her past accolades, Holm hopes that a win over Harrison puts her right in the thick of the title challenger conversation.

“I fought for the belt more than once and so a lot of people, they think about what the anticipation is, they want to see other people fight for the belt, but you’ve also got to put people in line that deserve to be there and there’s a reason that I have been up there, it’s because I stayed ranked in the top 5 for a really long time,” Holm said. “My goal is always to get to the belt. If I’m not fighting for the belt, I don’t want to be fighting at all. If I don’t have some kind of path to the belt, I really don’t want to do it.

“I’m not just fighting for a payday, I’m not just fighting for fun, it’s with a goal in mind, so that’s always it. It really stinks when you have a loss because it takes you a step away from it rather than a step closer, so I do feel like this is a fight that can be closer to the belt, so I’m going to make it work, make it happen.”

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