Kevin Holland unretires, books December return against Wonderboy

Kevin Holland pulled a classical PR move and claimed he would be retiring after arguably the biggest loss of his career. Holland took on Khamzat Chimaev on a day’s notice and lost a little over a minute into round 1.

While Holland is an interesting athlete he’s been exposed several times over for his lack of wrestling which led to consecutive defeats to Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson. Holland had cited he would be working on his wrestling but the improvement wasn’t exactly clear against Chimaev.

In the fall out from the loss he claimed he had retired. Holland has been one of those UFC company men that claim the UFC pays fairly which is likely how he got fed a couple of slow pitches to rebuild himself after a move down from middleweight to welterweight.

Dana White nixed the Holland retirement story right away citing that Holland is ‘a sensitive guy’.

“We talked about that. Obviously, you know I’m really close to this kid, and I like him a lot. I think when you are competing in a sport like this and you’ve done the things that Kevin Holland has done, you know”

“he gets out of the fight with Brunson and realizes he needs to work on his wrestling more, so he dives in, starts working on his wrestling, and I think when what happened to him happens to you, I don’t know, I think you lay in bed at night and go, ‘Holy sh*t, how did that happen to me.’” White said.

Holland tried to double down on retirement claims despite the custom gift White had sent him saying:

“But I’m really, really happy on the green side. Unless something super-duper magical pops up, yeah, I’m pretty happy with the way things are.”

And just yesterday UFC announced they were booking Holland against storied kickboxer and welterweight gatekeeper Stephen Thompson. Thompson was a title challenger at one time but has steeply declined since and is one of the oldest ranked welterweights at 39.

He’s also clearly not a wrestler in addition to being on a two loss spree. Thompson lost to Belal Muhammad and GIlbert Burns in 2021.