Kevin Holland might be back in the UFC following his brief retirement earlier this year, but he hasn’t closed the door on another UFC exit.
Holland announced his decision to walk away from the sport after his defeat to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279 – a last-minute change of assignment following Chimaev’s huge weight miss for his scheduled main event bout with Nate Diaz.
At the time, some people thought Holland was trolling, but as he explained during media day ahead of UFC on ESPN 42, his decision to stop was very real.
“It was serious as hell — super serious,” Holland said.
“It’s still on the table. If I wake up Sunday morning after beating ‘Wonderboy’ and you guys have Chimaev fighting for a 185-pound world title, and he’s never won a fight at ‘85 in the top 15, I’m retired.
“I understand business is business, but favoritism is favoritism. The kid missed weight. I had to step up to fight him after he missed weight and make the fight happen. I shouldn’t have had to do that, but I did what I had to do. I did what I was supposed to do for a company man.
“So I’m sitting here telling you guys now, certain things have to go certain ways. If they don’t go certain ways and we don’t get what we were promised, the things we talked about aren’t honored, you might as well give me my resignation papers and let me go home and smoke weed and play video games for the rest of my life.”
Holland said that he loves where he fights, loves how much money he makes, and how often the UFC lets him fight. But also said that “I just don’t think that if I’m putting in this work, and the next guy is not, he should get more than me.”
“There’s just certain things that just don’t make sense,” Holland continued.
“At the end of the day, if we’re here and we’re here to be fair and we’re here to be even, everyone should have a fair chance. We’re fighters. We fight for what we want. We should be able to fight off what we want. We should be able to get the same things if we’re fighting the same way.
“That’s just how I feel. But I’m not here to b***h, I’m not here to complain. I’m just here to do what I feel is right and if I feel like something isn’t right, I will move the f**k around, because that’s what I do.”
But, for now, Holland is happy in the UFC, and is looking to claim another big-name scalp when he takes on former welterweight title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC on ESPN 42 in Las Vegas.
It’s a bout that Holland knows will offer a real test of his striking skills, as well as his patience. But “Trailblazer” said he has envisioned a late finish, and another big victory, on fight night.
“I’ve had plenty of visions on how I see the fight playing out, but ultimately the vision that just keeps staying there is, for some reason, it’s a third-round stoppage,” he said.
“We shall see. ‘Wonderboy’ is a fantastic fighter. We all know he does wonderful things. He’s very defensive. He does a good job of not getting hit. But I think around Round 3 I’ll start to hit him. I think once I start to hit him, it’ll be over. And I choose Round 3, because I feel like that’s the time, but whenever I start to hit him, the fight will be over.”