After her stunning and shocking victory over Ronda Rousey in UFC 193 last month, Holly Holm got a warm and cheering reception in her hometown in Albuquerque, New Mexico yesterday.
About 20,000 fans lined up to welcome the current queen of MMA world which definitely overwhelmed Holm to such an extent that she forgot her speech.
Not that anyone cared about it; fans were more than happy to catch just a single glimpse of her. ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’, as she is popularly known, did say a few heart warming words though.
“My fans started here, my whole career started here,” she said through tears.
“It wasn’t just my team that helped me believe in myself but it was the support of Albuquerque and I just thank you so much,” she said prompting the crowd to break into loud applauds chanting her name in the air throughout.
Thousands lined up the streets of the parade route to welcome the new women’s bantamweight champion. Even local politicians attended the event.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez made the announcement of declaring December 6 as ‘Holly Holm Day’ and Albuquerque City Council too followed suit by declaring November as ‘Holly Holm month’, a great honour indeed.
Her stock in trade is famous for being brutal, no-holds-barred but with controlled violence. The contact of her left foot rising sharply to stop Rousey which in a way landed her the victory was considered sickening. But the scene in her home town on Sunday was of nothing but appreciation and love. It seemed all that mattered to them was nothing but Holly Holm’s victory and her gracious presence.
Extending her gratitude to the crowd she said: “Thank you so much for being here, and not just today but always, and I’m not done yet. We’re still going to take it to the top. I love you guys, thank you so much.”
“I feel like I don’t have enough of me to give back to you. I feel there’s so much love out there. I love you so much. Merry Christmas.”
Holm also took a selfie on stage at the parade and waved and greeted her fans, no wonder she is respected both in and off the ring.
Hometown support has been constant for Holm throughout her career. Hailing her as a “class act” immediately after her win over Rousey on November 15 in Melbourne, Governor Martinez said: “Once again, Holly Holm has shown the world what it means to be New Mexico True.”
“She not only showed that she’s tough as nails, but she proves time and again that she’s a class act – a champion in and out of the octagon. Her victory sparked celebrations all across our state. We are proud of Holly’s achievement, and no doubt there are little girls all across New Mexico who are even more inspired to become champions in their own right.”