LAS VEGAS – The change in Kevin Holland was obvious from the second he stepped into the room for his Wednesday media session on the UFC Apex.
Gone was the boisterous, jovial Holland of simply three weeks prior. As a substitute, Holland’s tone was rather more subdued.
“It’s kill or be killed,” Holland advised MMA Junkie. “Go on the market and get the kill, get the job carried out, go dwelling – you already know what I imply? Do my factor.”
Holland’s method to the media day was a transparent response to the criticism he acquired following a quite weird combat with Derek Brunson just some weeks in the past, the place he appeared extra targeted on speaking to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was cageside, than really beating his opponent. Following a lackluster resolution loss, Holland was the goal of some very pointed backlash.
Holland stated the message was acquired – even when he didn’t essentially agree with all of it.
“I’m simply right here to do the job, you already know what I imply,” Holland stated. “It’s like everyone desires ‘Massive Mouth’ till ‘Massive Mouth’ failed, (and) now they don’t need ‘Massive Mouth’ anymore, so so far as I’m involved, I’ll go on the market and do what ‘Trailblazer’ does, accumulate my ‘W,’ after which take my black ass again dwelling.”
Holland (21-6 MMA, 8-3 UFC) will get an opportunity to place the efficiency behind him when he faces Marvin Vettori (16-3-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC) within the headlining bout of Saturday’s UFC on ABC 2 occasion, which airs stay on ABC from the UFC Apex.
Stepping in for an injured Darren Until, Holland now competes in his second UFC most important occasion in simply three weeks, and whereas he is aware of issues should be a little bit completely different than his final outing, he believes he’s proving his value to the promotion by taking the competition.
“I feel there have been some issues I wanted to work on earlier than I acquired this most important occasion, however on the identical time, when the corporate wants someone to step up, I’m right here to step up when no person else will,” Holland stated. “I feel it was a kind of conditions the place “Trailblazer’ wanted to be right here, and I’m right here.”
For followers, the build-up to the matchup will definitely have much less taste than one might need hoped. Whereas there’s historical past between them, Holland made it clear he’s not prepared to partake in as a lot pre-fight banter as he has in earlier contests. That stated, he nonetheless believes he can get the most effective of Vettori even with out the pre-fight thoughts video games.
“I’m going to mess with him within the cage,” Holland stated. “On the finish of the day, he’s going to get toyed with, you already know what I imply? The work with Marvin’s head has already been put in you, so after we get on the market, I’ll present you guys precisely what I imply.”
Profitable has a method of fixing a whole lot of issues in MMA, and Holland has definitely confirmed a penchant for entertaining whereas incomes a victory. However Holland, the 2020 MMA Junkie “Fighter of the 12 months,” stated he’s not overly involved with what followers might should say after Saturday.
UFC president Dana White indicators the checks, and due to this fact his opinion issues. Any others, not a lot.
“Dana wasn’t actually proud of the efficiency, and I can perceive why he wasn’t proud of the efficiency,” Holland stated. “He’s the boss, you already know? He was trying ahead to me doing sure issues to Brunson so, you already know, it might carry higher income in a while. I don’t assume Brunson brings good income to the sport or to the game, so I might really feel the place he was upset from – everyone else who was upset, shut the f*ck up, you already know what I imply?
“So yeah, I can perceive the place the boss is upset from. I perceive the place the boss is coming from 100%. … Right here and there he’s had issues to say, and finest consider I’ve had open ears and I’ve listened.”
To see the total interview with Holland, take a look at the video above.