After UFC Philadelphia, middlweight Kevin Holland made it clear that he is no fan of strikers trying to grapple with him. Or grapplers trying to grapple with him. Really anyone trying to grapple him, for that matter.
Philadelphia, PA — Let it be known that UFC middleweight Kevin Holland is no fan of the ground game. Holland most certainly let that be known following his scrap with Gerald Meerschaert Saturday, after winning a unanimous decision on the preliminary card. Holland wanted to stand and trade. His opponent had other ideas, and the end result was more like making love than fighting, Holland insisted.
Speaking to reporters including Cageside Press back stage, Holland was as talkative outside the cage as he tends to be in it (later admitting in that even in the gym, he never stops talking).
“I want to bang, I want to fight. Guys want to do jiu-jitsu, they can go do IBBJF, they can go do one of those jiu-jitsu tournaments,” Holland exclaimed after the Philly bout at UFC on ESPN 2. “They can even come to the gym,” he suggested, “we can do some jiu-jitsu there”
In the octagon, however, “we’re here for an MMA fight. I think the fans want to see a little bit more banging,” Holland said. “I liked it when we were going for submissions. But when we were just laying there, it was like ‘dang, what are we doing here bro? We’re getting a little too intimate. So I wasn’t really with all that.”
Despite being in the City of Brotherly Love, “there was no love here tonight,” Holland remarked. “I got married not to long ago, if I want to get intimate, I’ll do it with her. I came to Philly to catch a body, not to make love.”
Later, he added, “now that I see that everybody in the division wants to hump me, maybe I should just go out and hump first and knock their head off on the ground. It’s okay if I’m pressing you and smacking you at the same time, you know, it’s dirty sexual love. I’m down for that, that’s real brotherly love right there.”
The crowd reaction in Philly — mainly boos and jeers — seemed to get to Holland, who yelled out after to the masses that it was Meerschaert that wanted to “hump.”
This was a recurring theme for Holland post-fight. “I don’t like when guys that normally strike come in and try to hug me,” he’d say later. “Do what you normally do. Don’t come in here and switch the game plan up just because I’m long and lanky.”
“I don’t want to lay and hug, I’m really not fond of that. Really really not fond of that.”
It’s even an issue Holland has with previous opponents, including his most notable. “Look at Thiago [Santos], he’s fighting Jon Jones, hat’s off to him, he’s been knocking everybody out,” said Holland Saturday. “He hit me with some massive shots in our fight, tried to rearrange my face. I think he was mad because I asked him if he was on the naughty or nice list for Santa Claus, and he just started pounding my freaking head in. But he’s normally a striker, and he wanted to grapple me on the ground the whole time. So I guess right there, that should tell me it all. Only thing these guys want to do is hug.”
It worries him that, moving forward, “the next striker will want to hug. If I was to fight Israel [Adesanya], hat’s off to Israel, I think he’s a phenomenal striker, but he might want to hug too.” So who does that leave then?
“Give me [Anderson] Silva. I know Silva won’t want to hug. I know Silva won’t want to hug. Give me somebody like that.”
Holland is one of the few men to go the distance with Thiago Silva recently, and having done so, “it’s a feather in the cap knowing that he came there and he hugged me. Because I know when he goes against Jon Jones, he’s not going to try any of that hugging, right? So a feather in the cap, I guess you could say so, but I still lost to the man.”
Holland isn’t against packing on some pounds at some point and going up to light heavyweight for a rematch with Santos. “He’s not escaping me. I’m going to get him one day.”
In the end, however, he got the win. And it was in a special place, even with the booing. Holland actually saw his first UFC fight in Philadelphia. “But what really blew me away was when Anderson Silva was backing up, and he knocked out Forest Griffin. It was a knockout that blew me away, it wasn’t hugging and grappling on the ground.”
Watch the full UFC Philadelphia (UFC on ESPN 2) post-fight press scrum with Kevin Holland above!