Las Vegas, NV — Kevin Holland once dreamed, as a teenager, of Jacare Souza “beating the crap” out of him.
At UFC 256, the 28-year old Holland turned that dream — a nightmare, really — on its head. On his back early in the opening round, Holland managed to fire off a punch that rocked the Brazilian. Holland made his way back to his feet, still throwing as he did so. Souza crumpled under the onslaught.
“I’m happy that it worked out, but I hate that it had to be Jacare that I did like that,” Holland (21-5) told media outlets including Cageside Press following the win.
The win over the legend gives Holland five victories in the 2020, tying the record for wins in a calendar year. It also gave Holland his third Performance of the Night bonus in that stretch. So is he the Fighter of the Year? Holland said it all came down to the UFC 256 main event.
“If [Deiveson Figueiredo] goes out there and gets the job done, he’s Fighter of the Year,” exclaimed Holland. “If he somehow, some way doesn’t get the job done, which would be a little weird to me because I think he should win— then yeah, I’m Fighter of the Year. Nobody else did this.” While Holland in essence admitted that at times, his competition wasn’t at he same level, “it’s not my fault that everybody that I was originally scheduled to fight caught COVID, got sick or caught cramps inside their little va-jay-jay and just couldn’t pull up. It’s not my fault.”
Of course, Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fought to a draw in the UFC 256 main event. In the Fight of the Night, and a potential Fight of the Year candidate. It’s a close race, in other words.
Looking forward, Holland offered that after five wins in 2020, “I’m a company, man, whatever they want me to do, I’m here to do.” So should the UFC want him to fight next week, “I’ll fight next week. They want me to fight in a couple months, I’ll fight a couple months. Whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’m here to do. Ultimately, I love my job.”
One name that continues to interest Holland is Khamzat Chimaev, who like Holland has built a reputation as a fighter who stays busy. Although that’s a claim Holland disputes. “He doesn’t have a reputation for fighting all the time. That’s just what all the casuals think, that he fights all the time,” exclaimed Holland. “He fought three times this year, two times against bums and then another time against Gerald Meerschaert. Gerald Meerschaert is not a bum. But he was coming off a knockout. [Chimaev] hasn’t beat anybody in the UFC with a win, but at the same time, he’s a good ticket for the UFC.”
Watch the full UFC 256 post-fight press conference with Kevin Holland above.