Let’s just say Kevin Holland is keeping it real ahead of tonight’s LFA 13 headliner.
Whether he’s looking to get in his opponent’s head or just being pessimistic about the stakes for the fight, Holland had a rather sobering assessment of the nationally televised bout.
Holland (9-2) meets Curtis Millender (9-2) in a welterweight bout at Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Convention Center in Burbank, Calif. The AXS TV-televised headliner is a great way for Millender to get noticed, but unlike some past LFA main-event fighters, he doesn’t see it as a ticket to the big show.
“It’s hard to believe someone like Curtis is my final exam (to get into the UFC), so no,” he told MMAjunkie Radio. “I believe it’s just another stepping stone. I believe it’s another pawn on the chess board that I simple have to sacrifice to get where I need to be.
“Yeah, it’s a big-time show. It’s a big card. But it’s not the biggest. I’m not fighting for a title. It’s their first time coming to Cali. They’re really just experimenting.”
Holland, 24, is riding a four-fight winning streak with four stoppages. In fact, in nine career wins, he’s never gone to a decision. But he’s not sure his body of work is enough to get him a shot in the UFC octagon.
“Dreams due to come true, but will the dream of going to the UFC after this fight (come true)?” he said. “I think not. I’m only going to be 10-2. They keep mentioning record, record, record. So I see a couple more fights after this, and I’ve got no problem with that.”
Although his first four fights were first-round wins, Holland said he got a little overly focused on the finish, and it eventually cost him. He said he learned his lesson, and he’s ready to wait for his opening tonight against Millender.
“I started off doing kung fu, and you wait for the kill,” he said. “You can smell the kill. If the kill isn’t there, I’m not the type of guy who’s going to try jump all on it.
“I did that. I was 4-0. I went in my fifth pro fight, and I was thinking I could finish anybody from the road anywhere. And I did that, and I lost the fight with a decision because the whole time I was looking for the kill, and the guy was looking to play pussyfoot. I couldn’t put him away because he was playing around the whole time. But I learned from that.”
Besides, with the confidence he has in his skills, he said there’s no need to rush it.
“The kill’s coming to come regardless,” he said. “When you’re this long, this strong, this fast, this damn good – it’s going to come to you.”
For the full MMAjunkie Radio interview, check out the video above. And for his chat with AXS TV Fights’ Ron Kruck, in which Holland calls Millender a “one-trick pony,” check out the video below.