Getting back to the top herself has been Holm’s mission since she was dethroned by Miesha Tate at UFC 196, and it has been a continuous process of improving in the gym, implementing those new skills in the Octagon, and facing the toughest competition possible at every turn.

After closing out her rookie year in the UFC with one of the most shocking upsets of all time over Ronda Rousey, the former three-division boxing champion and two-division MMA title threat has gone just 4-5 in her past nine fights, with each of those setbacks coming against women that have worn (or still wear) UFC gold.

All but one of those contests was close, and along the way, Holm has continued adding to her arsenal, working to become the complete martial artist she set out to become when she first opted to hang up her boxing gloves and commit to a fighting career inside the cage.

FREE FIGHT: Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana

“In the beginning of my MMA career, everyone was saying, ‘Watch out for her hands! Watch out for her hands; she’s coming from a boxing background,’ and I kept thinking, ‘Yeah, watch out for my hands; I’m gonna kick you in the face!’” Holm said with a laugh. “And then I started landing kicks and it was, ‘Watch out for her kicks! Take her down,’ and I thought, ‘Yeah, watch out for that because I’m gonna take you down, too!’

“Then I started getting better with my clinch work and my takedowns and stuff like that, and not only focusing on that, but implementing it into my game plan to where…”

She paused, finding the right words to describe her desires.

“I want to be unpredictable,” she said sharply. “I didn’t come to MMA to box in a cage; I came because I wanted to make a legacy in MMA as a full martial artist, and so I feel like I still have things I want to accomplish to prove that. And I want to show that, not just to everybody else, but also to myself.