UFC middleweight Kevin Holland has had a whirlwind couple of weeks.
Holland (20-5) was expected to headlined UFC Vegas 16 last weekend. It didn’t happen. Instead, a positive COVID-19 test yanked him from the card. Marvin Vettori, who was to fight Jacare Souza at UFC 256, stepped into Holland’s spot against Jack Hermansson.
Now, Holland fights Souza, just a week after he was originally scheduled to compete. So just how is that possible, given the COVID-19 result?
Asked about that point blank at the UFC 256 media day this week, Holland told Cageside Press that “I never tested positive.”
“It was probably a false positive,” he went on to explain. “I took a lot of tests after, and they were all negative. But sh*t happens, and I can’t control the sh*t that happens. So here I am a week later.”
He’s not sweating any more positive tests, at least not on his own end. “Somebody else’s end, that’s a different story. But my end, I’m as healthy as an ox.”
That ox hasn’t exactly had a ton of time to prepare for former Strikeforce champ Jacare. Especially given time spent in isolation following what now appears to be a false positive for COVID-19. However, as Holland pointed out, it’s not as if Souza has had much more time to ready himself. “I guess you could say in a way we got ready for Jacare in the garage. But I guess in a way you can say Jacare got ready for me in the garage. So even-stevens,” Holland quipped.
Holland is entering his fifth fight of 2020 looking for his fifth win. That’s an impressive run from the 28-year old Texan. “I like busy years. I hate the idea of sitting at home warming up the bench. I’m not a benchwarmer,” Holland said of his busy schedule. “So keep me as active as possible. And everybody keeps saying five fights in a year. I’ve had five fights in seven months. This isn’t a normal year. This is a pandemic year. I’m the only person that got hot during the f*cking virus.”
If he keeps barrelling along at this breakneck pace, Holland might even find himself in the title picture in 2021. “That’d be pretty cool, man. But I’m in no rush,” he admitted. “Everybody was talking about that title, but I got gold on my pinky and I got gold on my neck. I’m good with the gold I got. I got a little bit more gold at the house. So as long as they keep me active and they keep me fighting, I’m a happy happy man. There’s plenty of guys in the division that need to get smacked before I can become a champion.”
As Holland sees it, “everybody wants to be the champ but half of these guys really aren’t that good. They all think that they’re the best fighter in the world, but truth be told, we all got holes somewhere. So let’s just continue to fix our holes and then we’ll see what happens,” he continued. “But if that happens in 2021, I will snipe whoever the champion is and I’ll become the champ.”
If Holland finds success against Souza, he should at least find himself higher up in the rankings. Despite a four-fight win streak, Holland was unranked until Yoel Romero parted ways with the UFC a few days back. He now sits at 15th in the promotion’s official rankings.
Watch the full UFC 256 virtual media day pres scrum with Kevin Holland above. The event takes place this Saturday, December 12 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.