Holm has now won 13 of her 18 MMA bouts (PA Images)
19 January 2020

Holly Holm emotionally reveals father's stroke less than a month before victory over Raquel Pennington at UFC 246 and warns Claressa Shields transition to MMA 'takes time'

UFC star Holly Holm has revealed her father had a stroke less than a month before her fight with Raquel Pennington in Las Vegas.

Holm, who was returning off the back of a devastating defeat to Amanda Nunes, won by unanimous decision in a scrappy yet dominant display to throw her name back into contention for a world title shot.

And in the post-fight press conference, the 38-year-old told reporters she had been going through some tough family matters in the lead up to UFC 246.

She said: "Leading up to the fight I really didn't want to say anything that was going on because I didn't want anyone to think I'm making excuses before the fight.

"Because I feel life happens to anybody. no matter what. We all have things going on in our lives and we have to learn how to balance them. We're fighters, we have to be able to do that.

"I'm open talking about it. My father had a stroke about three and a half weeks ago. He's doing great, so that's what we're pumped about. But it's definitely been a balance."

Holm was also asked what she made of boxer Claressa Shields hinting at a crossover fight with UFC lightweight champion Amanda Nunes under MMA rules.

"I say it takes time (to transition), mat time. You can learn everything, every technique there is, but how do you really react when it's live time to do it?"

Holm is the only boxing world champion to move over to the UFC and win a world title.

However, she believes she was better prepared than Shields because of her kickboxing background prior to becoming an established boxer.

And while Holm refuses to write Shields off, she does concede it would almost certainly take time.

"I feel like the transition was a little bit easier for me," she added. "With that being said, Claressa Shields is obviously a champ in three different weight classes. She's 24 and she's done this much already. How do you get there? Through hard work, determination, belief in yourself and skill. 

"She's done that so we'll see what happens, but I definitely think it's a different game so it takes time.

"I'll never say it can't be done. Do I think that it takes a while? I really truly do."

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