Holly Holm announced on Tuesday that she will be retiring from the boxing ring following a May 11 fight in Albuquerque against Mary McGee, and will be going into mixed martial arts full-time, seeking a new challenge at age 31.
Holm (32-2-3, 9 KO) remains one of the very best women's boxers on the planet, and has had a splendid career since going pro in 2002. Following a scary KO loss to Anne Sophie Mathis in 2011, she has bounced back to beat Mathis in a rematch, followed by a shutout win over Diana Prazak last December.
"Since I first started fighting, it became my passion," Holm said at the presser. "I decided a long time ago, after quitting school to fight, that I would box as long as my heart was in it. One of my biggest and controversial fights was against Christy Martin. Then, it was Mary Jo Sanders. There's always a champion. This is my own journey. Every one of my fights have helped me to believe in myself.
"When we were deciding which way to go with my future, my trainer, Mike Winkeljohn, said it best, 'You want to climb a new mountain.' This thing has created a new spark in me and I'm following my heart."
Holm addressed the idea that leaving boxing before fighting Cecilia Braekhus, considered the top female boxer in the world today, won't bother her.
"I wish much success to Cecilia, but not fighting her does not, by any means, define my boxing career. I know there's a lot of talk about that but what does that say about all the women I've already fought? I've never been a paper champion. I've grown so much every step of the way. I'm in this fight, on May 11, 100 percent; I'm not distracted. This is obviously an emotional, spiritual and physical journey and I'm so grateful for the people who have supported me. I just want to fight where my passion is (MMA). I train in an MMA gym and always have."
Holm has fought in MMA already, going 3-0 with all wins coming by stoppage, including a February 28 bout on a Bellator show.