Raquel Pennington has waited for this chance since feeling the sting of seeing her own hand left draped at her side while Holly Holm’s was raised in victory five years ago.
The frustration grew when the Colorado Springs native touched down in Australia in October 2019 for the long-awaited rematch only to learn 45 minutes later that Holm was pulling out because of a hamstring injury.
On Saturday, in the co-main event at UFC 246 headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Pennington will finally have the opportunity to take those frustrations out on Holm at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
“I want to go out there and revenge my loss,” said Pennington, a Harrison graduate who trains locally and has never agreed with the split decision that gave Holm a victory in their first meeting on Feb. 28, 2015.” I felt like I deserved that win the first time around, so I’m going to go get it the second time.”
For Holm (12-5), the victory over Pennington in her UFC debut put her career on a rocket ship. She shot to international stardom in Nov. 2015 by beating Ronda Rousey with a kick to the head for a second-round knockout.
Since then, the Albuquerque-based “Preacher’s Daughter” is just 2-5 in UFC events. She lost to Amanda Nunes in a first-round knockout in July, her only fight in the past 19 months as the 38-year-old has battled injuries.
“It’s been a really tough year,” the third-ranked women’s bantamweight said. “But I also made it through it.”
Pennington (10-8), ranked fifth in the bantamweight division, won four straight fights after losing to Holm, climbing to a title fight against Nunes that she lost in a fifth-round knockout. She followed that with a loss to Germaine De Randamie and then reset her career by changing out much of her team, fighting through health issues and returning with a victory over Irene Aldana this past July in San Antonio.
The 31-year-old Pennington sees this as an opportunity to put herself in position for another title fight, correct a blight on her record and potentially send Holm into retirement as she did with the similarly decorated Miesha Tate in 2016.
“That’s the game plan,” Pennington said.