Cape Town - With Conor McGregor predictably grabbing the spotlight at the UFC 197 press conference yesterday, both co-main event stars Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate were, for the most part, just observers.In between the verbal jousting of McGregor and Dos Anos, two highly talented females from the UFC bantamweight division spoke with nothing but respect for one another, both looking forward to the challenge that faced on March 5th at UFC 197 according to Jim Edwards from MMALatestNews.com
The champion, Holly Holm, is coming off the back of her incredible performance at UFC 191 in November where she shocked the world by knocking out Ronda Rousey in Melbourne.
The original plan for the UFC was to book an immediate rematch, however, following a change to Rousey's filming schedule, her return to the UFC Octagon has been delayed until later this year.
Speaking yesterday, Holm seemed totally unphased by the change of plans but did question whether Rousey had the passion to fight:
"For me I want to keep fighting and if Ronda wants to come back and that's her passion -- great. If she wants to stay in movies -- great," said Holm.
"I think that I would rather meet someone in the cage when they're passionate about it. I don't want it to be because they feel like they have to or it's expected or other people are curious about it. It's Ronda's life, I want her to do what she wants to do."
Holm added that this situation was not unknown to her and recalled a time from her boxing career where one of her former rivals decided to quit the sport early when they lacked the passion to continue fighting:
"In my whole boxing career, Laila Ali kind of ended short of what a lot of people thought. They always used to ask me, 'What do you think about that? I think that she should stick around and prove this and prove that.' Well, if she doesn't want to fight, I don't want to watch her fight," Holm said. "I don't want to watch a fighter doing it that's not passionate about it.
"So if Ronda wants to fight, awesome. If she wants to go onto different avenues of her life, great, whatever."
Her opponent on March 5th, Miesha Tate, has also been a longtime rival of Rousey. Tate said she was looking forward to facing a different opponent when she challenges for the UFC women's bantamweight title for the second time:
“It’s just a different kind of feeling leading into this fight,” Tate said. “I’m a fan of respectfulness, and I think Holly is a true sportsman. I like this fight; I like the matchup."
“It’s a little refreshing to not have it have to be against Ronda and have to go through all the trauma of seeing each other all the time. Holly and I are very friendly, so it’s just a different fight.”
Attention then switched back to Holm, who reiterated her motivation was greater than ever and that she wanted to prove to the world again that her win over Rousey was not lucky:
“Who wants to be a one-hit wonder, right?” Holm said. “… I just feel like I’m climbing, climbing. I never want to feel like I’m at the top."
“This is going to be a whole different fight than the one with Ronda. We’re going to train completely different, because this is a completely different fighter."
Holly Holm vs Ronda Rousey will be the co-main event at UFC 197 which takes place on March 5th at the MGM Grand. The main event will see Conor McGregor take on Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC lightweight championship.