Kevin Holland is just weeks removed from his loss to Derek Brunson, and it’s safe to say he’s heard the criticism — not that he necessarily agrees with it.
Holland’s five-round main event at UFC Vegas 22 did not go as planned. He spent too much of it on his back, unable to get out from under Brunson’s stifling wrestling. Yet he continued to chirp at everyone in sight, living up to that “Big Mouth” moniker he’s been saddled with.
Now, he’s stepping in to save UFC Vegas 23, jumping right into the main event against Marvin Vettori, in place of the injured Darren Till. And from the sounds of it, Holland is all business.
He’s just “here to do the job,” Holland stated during media day this week. Sounding just a tad irked at the blowback he had from his first loss in six fights. “Everybody wanted “Big Mouth” until “Big Mouth” failed, now they don’t want “Big Mouth” anymore. So as far as I’m concerned, I’ll go out there, do what “Trailblazer” does, collect my duff and take my black ass back home.”
Not that he intends to be quiet entirely, of course. “I’ll still have little things to say here and there,” he admitted, “but overall, I just want to get the job done, take my ass back home, spend some time with the kid, and get back in here when they need me to get back in here.”
What went wrong against Brunson? Holland seems to feel it was the lack of referee intervention. “I knew that I was losing on the scorecard, but at the same time, how the f*ck do you grant a guy a win for laying and praying for 20 minutes? And when the f*ck do you stand the fight up?”
Holland used Woodley vs. Till as a comparison. “How many times did they break that fight up? How fast? How quick? How this, how that? Then you got me here, locking this man up, he ain’t doing sh*t, stand the fight up. It is what it is.”
Despite the outcome, and all the negativity surrounding it, Holland wasn’t ready to question his decisions in the Brunson fight. “No regrets at all. No regrets for talking to Khabib, no regrets for people being upset, no regrets for anything at all. I seen what I needed to see. People’s reactions gave me a lot, and now here I am, stepping up last second, giving you guys what you want.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 23 media day with Kevin Holland above.