Kevin Holland speaks out about his short-lived retirement and return.


Kevin Holland’s retirement wasn’t fake, it was just short-lived.

Earlier this month, Holland teased a retirement from MMA “unless something super-duper magical pops up.” One day later that “something” did arise when Holland was offered a fight with former welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson for the main event of UFC Orlando. But speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Holland says he’s retirement wasn’t entirely bogus.

“For a second there I was like, ‘Yeah, I could walk away and be happy.’ No stress,” Holland said. People were asking me if I had done the same thing the previous time. I replied, “Even though the performance was the worst?” Samurai code. Ready to die at any time. F*** it. Bushido. It is what it is…

” I didn’t know what to do until I met up with the person I wanted. If I found something miraculously delicious or wonderful, I’d step up. And what could be more amazing than Wonderboy ?

Most recently, Holland faced Khamzat Chimaev in the co-main event of UFC 279, where he was steamrolled en route to a first-round submission loss. Holland had originally been scheduled to fight Daniel Rodriguez in an upcoming welterweight bout. However, Chimaev lost weight due to his fight with Nate Diaz so the fight card was rearranged. Rodriguez went on to face Li Jingliang, winning a split decision that moved him up into the welterweight rankings, and Holland explained that he believed the two of them would have their fight rebooked. Holland said that he was shocked to learn that D-Rod was going up against Neil Magny this year.

“I saw D-Rod get the Neil Magny fight,” Holland explained. “We had talked about some different things when the negotiations went down for the whole Chimaev thing, and we talked about some things, so I thought this or that would happen, and it didn’t look like anything was playing out, so I was like, ‘Man, it’s been a long road. “I don’t want to spend too much time trying to name the company. I thought it would happen. But, the negotiations didn’t go as planned.

” I wanted to fight him. He was in the Neil Magny fight. All due respect to him, but we have been standing up for a fight several times. It was my first fight, and it wasn’t the second. There’s still some work to do. No offense to anybody. I like D-Rod, he’s a good man, but business is business, and if I’m not mistaken the boy has [a ranking] and I was looking to grab what was supposed to be mine.”

Instead, Holland now gets an even bigger opportunity, facing the No. 7-ranked welterweight in the UFC rankings (Rodriguez is ranked No. 14) who also happens to be one of the biggest names in the division. Holland, as you would expect is delighted with the turn of events.

“Oh yeah, most definitely [this is a bigger fight],” Holland said. “I would never turn down a Wonderboy fight. A young Kev, an old Kev, no Kev would ever turn down a Wonderboy fight. I think I can strike. While the world believes I have a right-hand, I believe I can do more. Kung Fu black belt is a good reason. Everyone knows Kung Fu fighting. Kung Fu vs. Karate is the old-school stuff. It’s fun. It is very enjoyable. This one .”

is exciting.

And as is befitting the man Dana White affectionately dubbed “Big Mouth,” Holland has every confidence that when fight night rolls around, he will add Wonderboy to his highlight reel.

“I don’t plan on going in there and shooting any takedowns against Wonderboy,” holland said. To be 100 % honest, I intend to knock Wonderboy out. I think Wonderboy is a fantastic fighter, I think his style is wonderful, it’s his name, but that being said, Pettis was able to knock him out and I think I’m going to be able to knock him out. Pettis was able to find his chin and I think I’m going to be able to find his chin, and when I find his chin, I think I hit a little bit harder than Anthony Pettis…

“But let’s not get mistaken, a lot of people go out there and strike with Wonderboy, usually look crazy. Geoff Neal is a man who can strike very well but couldn’t strike for Wonderboy. Vicente Luque, strikes really well — and these are two completely different styles of striking — couldn’t strike with Wonderboy. Pettis, a clever motherf *****,, figured it all out. I like to think I’m pretty crafty too, so I think I can figure it out, and I think my Kung Fu beats his Karate.

UFC Orlando takes place on Dec. 3 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.