UFC Vegas 5: Rookie No More, Kevin Holland Trying to Reach Grand Master Status

Middleweight Kevin Holland is a rookie no more in the UFC. Come this Saturday at UFC Vegas 5 it will have been roughly two years since he entered the promotion in a memorable scrap with Thiago Santos.

Santos has since moved on to the light heavyweight division, and a title shot therein. Holland (17-5) is 4-1 since that Santos fight, and coming off a win as he gets ready to take on Trevin Giles on Saturday night.

He wasn’t even aware his two-year milestone was coming up. “I mean, I guess I ain’t a rookie no more. So I like it,” he told Cageside Press during the event’s media day this week.

These past two years, he went on to explain, have been akin to a dream come true. “It’s a great experience. Kind of a dream come true. It’s kind of like how you play a video game: your player levels up a little bit and levels up a little bit more, and levels up a little bit more. Eventually you get Grandmaster. I’m trying to reach Grandmaster, you know what I mean?”

Holland will get some experience points this weekend against Giles, in a fight he’s had all of ten days to prepare for. But it’s not quite like cramming for a test. Instead, it’s about staying ready.

“Try and stay ready so you don’t have to get ready, you know?” he said of his approach. “I mean it’s like, try and stay on my strength conditioning. These days I try and stay on my my striking, I try and stay on my grappling, but with all the social distancing stuff I haven’t done too much. But just stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. They call me, I’m ready. Let’s go!”

As to what Giles brings to the table that makes him dangerous, Holland quipped that “We got the same manager. So maybe he has some insight. Other than that, he ain’t got nothing special.”