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‘Sick to my stomach’: Holly Holm spurred on by close calls

“My fight with Cyborg, a lot of people kind of at the end were like, ‘wow, how are they going to score that?’ It was a battle.

“Germaine de Randamie up in New York, a lot of people felt like the fight should’ve gone for me. Miesha Tate, I got choked out in the end and she totally caught me, but I was winning the fight until then.

“These are nothing of excuses at all, it’s just the actual competitiveness of the fights is there and I’ve definitely come short and it makes me sick to my stomach because those victories were just right in my fingertips and I didn’t capitalise on it.

“But that doesn’t mean that I’m down and out and not able to get back in there and make these victories happen. So that’s why I’m still doing this sport. I’m still passionate about it and I know my capabilities.

“I can’t be keeping that habit up,” Holm joked. “Let’s get close and not really get the victory – I’ve had enough of that. Let’s just go and do it right the first time.”

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Despite being 38 and having the UFC’s greatest ever women’s fighter –two-division champion Amanda Nunes – in her prime and standing in the way, Holm remains confident she can become a champion again.

“I do feel like I can still become a champion and that’s why I’m still fighting,” she said.

“If I felt like I was done, then I should retire. But I’m still right there at the top of the rankings and I know that I’m still competitive and I know that I have the capabilities to beat everybody in this division.”

Holm will face her next opponent Raquel Pennington in the co-main event at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on Sunday (AEDT). Holm won their last and only meeting back in 2015 via split decision.

“I always feel I have a point to prove in every fight. I want to go out and show that I’m actually still evolving as a fighter, I’m still learning, I’m still moving forward,” she said.

The main event on Sunday will see Conor McGregor in his long-awaited comeback fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

“I’m super excited to be part of the card,” Holm said. “Who can’t get excited for something like that? I love being a part of this event coming up and I’m excited to get in there and show all this hard work.”

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