What Holly Holm told Rousey after UFC knockout
HOLLY Holm sent Ronda Rousey down - and then did all she could to pick her up.
Holly Holm has revealed what she told Rousey after her shock UFC bantamweight victory over the previously invincible Rousey, a result which has grabbed worldwide attention.
The 16-1 outsider told news.com.au that she hasn't spoken to Rousey since the contest, but did share a quiet word with her after the referee stopped the contest at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.
Holm said: "I told her I appreciate her and the reason why any of us have this opportunity is because she's been able to come in and make waves. I appreciate that about her and she's been a good champion."
Rousey had been aggressive at the weigh-in and refused to touch gloves before the fight but Holm was deeply concerned about her opponent after the knock out kick which sent a bloodied Rousey to hospital.
"Trust me, I want the knockout and I want the victory and I'm glad I got it and I'm glad it was by knockout but I never want anyone to actually be permanently injured from anything in a fight," said Holm, a former world boxing champion.
"I have a certain compassion at that moment. I've been on the end of losing a fight and there's a piece of my heart that has compassion towards that because I know how it feels.
"Everything about her is all over the world. She has no privacy in her life. So there's a small amount of compassion. Don't get me wrong, I don't take back anything I did. I'm still happy that I won in devastating fashion. I'm so glad I made a statement and all the hard work paid off but there's still compassion.
"I hope she's doing well and if I know Ronda, she's going to bounce back. She's never let anything get her down too hard."
Holm has become an instant worldwide star. Her Instagram followers have jumped from 80,000 to more than 330,000 in a day, and rising fast. Bookies have already listed Rousey as the favourite for a widely anticipated re-match between the two Americans.
Meanwhile Rousey has recovered physically following the defeat and her trainer Mike Dolce has backed his charge to mentally return a better fighter.
Rousey was taken to hospital after the fight on Sunday. On Monday she recovered sufficiently to assure fans: "I'll be back".
And Dolce, who was part of Rousey's camp for the Etihad Stadium encounter, said he had no doubt the 28-year-old could return to the top of the UFC world.
"She will be back, absolutely, she is an amazing athlete," he said on Monday.
"Ronda has lost before, she lost at the Olympic Games and I think that was a great test for her and look at how she came back, she came back a multi-time world champion.
"So I will be expecting the same type of rebound after this."
Rousey claimed a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics before becoming the pin-up queen of UFC, and Dolce said she would draw on that experience ahead of a probable re-match against Holm.
"We go back to the gym, we go back to the basics, we go back to what made her a champion in the first place which is just hard work, sacrifice, dedication and focus on being the best in the world," he said.
"Last night was unfortunate but it doesn't change the overall goal which is being the best athlete on the planet."
Rousey was hospitalised after the fight in accordance with UFC rules.
Dolce, who put NRL club Manly-Warringah through a strength and training session at their Narrabeen base on Monday, confirmed the 28-year-old was fine.
"It was just precautionary and that is what we love about the UFC, the UFC does a great job taking care of the athletes," Dolce said.
"So it was a just a precautionary test which ruled out any concussion, any damage.
"We knew going in that Holly would be a tough test and she certainly was.
"Holly is a great champion and you can't take that away from her."
Rousey took to Instagram to assure fans she was OK.
"I just wanted to thank everyone for the love and support. I appreciate the concerns about my health, but I'm fine. As I had mentioned before, I'm going to take a little bit of time, but I'll be back," she wrote.
New champion Holly Holm proves a knockout
A huge crowd at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, witnessed probably the biggest shock in UFC history as previously unbeaten Ronda Rousey lost her bantamweight title to fellow American Holly Holm.
Holm knocked Rousey to the canvas at UFC 193 with a crunching left-foot kick 59 seconds into round two after dominating the fight.
The Californian made a blistering start and became the first to win a round against the former Olympic judo bronze medallist.
Rousey's past three fights had lasted only 64 seconds in total but Holm, a former professional boxer, was a much tougher opponent.
She stung Rousey with a series of powerful jabs with Rousey's bloody face showing the signs of battle, but more importantly kept Rousey at arm's length where she was unable to use her judo skills in the first round.
The defending champion got closer at the start of the second but was caught off guard almost a minute into round two.
Rousey was forced to turn away from a couple of strong left hooks and with her opponent's back turned, Holm caught
Rousey with a stunning left-foot kick which knocked her to the canvas.
The champ was out cold and after two more strikes from Holm, referee Herb Dean was left with no choice but bring the fight to a halt.
"There was lots of blood sweat and tears but it sure was worth it," Holm said after winning the crown. "I had so much love and support - I thought 'how could I not do this'. I'm trying to take this in but this is crazy."
Rousey now slips to a record of 12-1 after her first defeat, while Holm, 34, stays unbeaten at 10-0.
On the undercard, Poland's Joanna Jedrzejczyk held on to the strawweight crown with a win over Valerie Letourneau, while New Zealander Mark Hunt, 41, handed a first-round knockout to Antonio Silva three minutes and 30 seconds into their heavyweight bout.
- PHIL DILLON, APN