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Anderson ‘surprised’ to be fighting Holm in UFC debut

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Megan Anderson didn’t expect to get a call to face former bantamweight champion Holly Holm at UFC 225 in Chicago.

Color Megan Anderson surprised she’s facing Holly Holm in her UFC debut.

The former Invicta FC featherweight champion will take on the former UFC bantamweight titleholder at UFC 225 next month in Chicago. Anderson was initially expected to face Cris Cyborg for the then-vacant UFC women’s featherweight championship at UFC 214 last July, but she was forced out of the bout due to personal issues. She hasn’t fought since.

Anderson told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that she didn’t see the Holm offer coming.

“I was actually really surprised,” she said (transcript via MMAFighting.com). “It wasn’t something that I had actually [considered]. … I didn’t really have Holly in mind, so it definitely did come as a shock. I think this is a perfect opportunity to showcase my skills against someone that’s the caliber that Holly is. She’s held world titles in MMA and boxing and she’s done a lot for this sport. I’m excited.”

Since shocking the world by knocking out Ronda Rousey in 2015, Holm has gone 1-4, with title losses to Miesha Tate, Germaine de Randamie, and Cyborg, plus another defeat to Valentina Shevchenko. She hasn’t quite lived up to expectations put on her after securing one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.

But Anderson doesn’t think Holm’s better days are behind her.

“I think you’re as dangerous as you want to be,” Anderson said. “It’s not really my place to say if she’s on the back end of her career or not; only Holly and her team are the ones that know that. I’m sure they’re training hard and are prepared for this fight.

“In any fight, someone always brings forward some kind of danger factor and it’s just how you deal with that. Holly, she uses a lot of movement. She doesn’t necessarily engage a lot and I feel that’s what’s not tended to go her way in the split decisions. … It will be interesting to see how she approaches me, with me being the bigger and longer fighter than she is. She hasn’t necessarily fought someone like me before.”

Cyborg vs. Anderson has always seemed like the fight to make at women’s 145 pounds, but Anderson was willing to face anyone in her promotional debut.

“Whether it was for the belt or against anyone else, we were ready,” she said.

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