The circle is complete: Holm would consider a return to boxing

In this December 10, 2004 file photo, Holly Holm dances through the ring after winning the IBA World Championship title by beating Terri Blair. Holm recently said she would consider a return to boxing if the offer was acceptable. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal File)

Holly Holm hasn’t fought in over 14 months. Currently recovering from a knee injury, she has nothing planned for 2022.

Still, the ever-popular Albuquerque MMA fighter has recently conducted multiple interviews with multiple entities, asking and answering a wide variety of questions.

Among the answers:

She turned 40 in October and isn’t even thinking about it, or even thinking about retirement.

If the UFC offered her a fight in the 145 featherweight division, in which she has fought twice before, she wouldn’t necessarily turn it down. But the 135-pound bantamweight division, in which she once held the title, remains her focus.

The ongoing debate over who is the best boxer in the UFC, said the former world boxing champion, is hardly worth discussing. Boxing is not MMA and vice versa.

By far the most interesting question, and by far the most interesting answer, however, came from an interview with veteran martial arts journalist Lance Pugmire.

Would Holm consider the possibility of returning to the ring nearly nine years after she left boxing to train exclusively for MMA?

Absolutely, she said, if only for a world title.

“I miss boxing,” she told Pugmire. “It will always be a part of my heart. So you never know. Maybe I’ll go back.”

Three things prompted Pugmire’s question: Holm’s impending induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the fact that she only has two fights left on her UFC contract, and the fact that he’s heard of Holm’s interest from the camp of world lightweight champion Katie Taylor (20-0, six knockouts).

On Wednesday, Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s longtime promoter in Albuquerque, confirmed the rumors. He told the Journal that he was already in touch with Taylor’s manager, Brian Peters, before the Irish Olympic gold medalist turned pro in 2016.

So is Holm-Taylor a possibility?

“Sure,” Fresquez said.

Holm made it clear to Pugmire that her pursuit of the UFC bantamweight title she once held remains her priority for now.

Still, her interest was clearly piqued by the question.

Left-handed Albuquerque is the only martial arts athlete, male or female, to have won both a world title and a UFC title. No one held the two at the same time.

Claressa Shields, Holm’s teammate at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque and a world champion boxer, made that her goal when she came to JW. But after Shields lost her second MMA fight in October, her prospects for reaching that goal took a dive.

As of now, Holm has neither an MMA title nor a boxing title. But, she told Pugmire, “A lot of fighters try to go back and forth (between boxing and MMA), and nobody does it successfully.

“I can. I know I can do it. I know I can go back to boxing and still be a champion.”

Holm was 31-2-3 in the ring, holding world titles in three weight divisions.

THE GOAT DEBATE: Pugmire hypothesized that, should Holm return to boxing and win a world title, that title and her achievements in MMA would at least bring her into the conversation as the greatest female martial arts athlete of all time.

Let’s wait, Holm replied, and see what happens.

“I feel like I’m still striving. I’m still going for greatness,” she said. “So I’m not looking at it because I’m the GOAT, like I’ve already done it. I still want more.

“To be the GOAT, it has to be for the achievements you’ve already done.”

FIRST UP: Jackson-Wink MMA welterweight Chris “Breezy” Brown, it seems, will be the first New Mexico pro fighter to compete in 2022.

Brown (7-3) was matched up against Steve Jones (8-2) of Longview, Texas, on an LFA card in Dallas on Friday.

The card will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass from 7 p.m

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