Coming on the back of two consecutive losses in 2021, Kevin Holland is all set for a turnaround in the October 2 bout against Kyle Daukaus at UFC Fight Night headlined by Thiago Santos versus Johnny Walker.
“Mentally there is nothing different between me and the Kevin Holland I was before. Mentally that would never change. Still big mouth, you know, no change. Physically I’m wrestling. That’s about it,” the ‘Trailblazer’ told Sportstar during an interaction.
In his defeats against Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision earlier this year, Holland had revealed his vulnerability to the takedown. However, the 28-year-old believes he has plugged the holes in his technique.
“My takedown defence is simple. I’ve learnt a few little tricks—getting the head to the centre, smother on top of it, pull the lead leg back when I need to. But if I pull the lead leg back and he goes for the right leg, then I got something for that too. I’ve got a little bit of this, a little bit of that. I’m a supreme athlete. If you think there’s anything physical that I can’t learn when I put my mind to it, you’re out of your mind,” he said.
‘Learning from the best’
Reacting to Daukaus’ jibe that he anticipated the same technique and tactics from Holland, the latter said, “Daukaus is going to say a lot, it is his job to talk right now. He is not used to talking. He is learning from the best. If he is seeing nothing new, it’s good for me. If he expects to see some new s**t, then that might be a little nerve-wracking. But if Kyle thinks I am the same man as before, then I’ll probably be happy with that. We’ll see how that works out for him.”
With an overall MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) record of 21 wins and 7 losses, Holland had a dream run in 2020 where he won five successive fights in eight months, until his winning streak was snapped by Brunson in May.
Currently training under former UFC welterweight champion and Johny Hendricks, who is known for his restraint, a verbally exuberant Holland said, “It’s like a married couple waiting to happen. We’re going pretty good. I can get along with just about anybody. I’ve got a personality that is out of this world. You need me to be cool, calm and collected and I can be cool, calm and collected. You need me high-profile energy, I can have high-profile energy.”
Big Mouth also briefly sought the services of former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in California before deciding to prioritise his paternal duties.
“I had one stint with Daniel Courmier. I think it went pretty good. But I had to get back home. I’m a single father. I had to take care of that first and foremost. Daniel Courmier, hell of a wrestling guy. But I have ties with Texas and I had to stick to those ties for the time. So, we’ll stick with the Johnny Hendricks thing,” he said.
Holland said that while everybody was eager to know whether he had improved at the trade or not, he was confident of a victory. “October 2nd, click on ESPN and tune in, watch Big Mouth get the word, baby,” he signed off.
Watch UFC Fight Night -Santos vs Walker on October 3, 2021, LIVE on Sony Ten 2 & Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) channels from 4:30AM IST