Shortest Retirement Ever? Kevin Holland Gets Stephen Thompson in UFC Orlando Headliner

Kevin Holland UFC
Kevin Holland, UFC 272 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Well, that was quick. Despite UFC welterweight Kevin Holland doubling down on retirement talk recently, he’ll be back in the octagon later this year.

Holland (23-8, 1NC) has been scheduled to face Stephen Thompson in the main event of UFC Orlando on December 3, 2022. Promotion officials announced the match-up on social media on Wednesday.

Just last month, Holland came up short in an extremely short-notice fight with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279, which was hastily put together after Chimaev missed weight for a fight with Nate Diaz in the PPV card’s main event. In the days and weeks afterwards, Holland suggested he was done with MMA, save for something “super-duper magical” coming his way.

Apparently, a fight with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson qualifies.

Prior to the Chimaev fight, Holland had put together back-to-back wins against Tim Means and Alex Oliveira.

Thompson (16-6-1), a two-time UFC title challenger, has not set foot inside the octagon since December of 2021. That will make it a year between fights for “Wonderboy,” who has lost two straight — decisions against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad.

UFC Orlando will take place that the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on December 3, 2022. The event is set to feature the following reported bouts:

  • Stephen Thompson vs. Kevin Holland
  • Tracy Cortez vs. Amanda Ribas
  • Matt Schnell vs. Matheus Nicolau
  • Eryk Anders vs. Kyle Daukaus
  • Derek Brunson vs. Jack Hermansson
  • Marcelo Rojo vs. Francis Marshall
  • Natan Levy vs. Genaro Valdez
  • Michael Johnson vs. Marc Diakiese
  • Angela Hill vs. Emily Ducote
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Clay Guida
  • Darren Elkins vs. Jonathan Pearce
  • Rafael dos Anjos vs. Bryan Barberena