Kevin Holland eyes ‘bigger and better’ year in 2021

As 2020 wound down, the messages streamed in. Kevin Holland felt the love.

On social media, Holland (21-5 MMA, 8-2 UFC), now a legit UFC middleweight contender, quickly became a star. His 5-0 stretch in a seven-month span earned him numerous year-end awards, including MMA Junkie’s 2020 “Male Fighter of the Year.”

“It’s been pretty cool,” Holland recently told MMA Junkie. “I’m getting a whole lot of love right now. (There’s) more love than hate, so that’s always great. I’m digging it. Everything about it has been pretty fantastic. Awards, awards, awards have been nice.”

The best part, according to Holland, is that everyone around him is thriving from his efforts. Between win and show money and fight night bonuses, Holland said he earned in the high six figures during his big run, so Holland is happy those around him are reaping the benefits of his success as he sets his sights on 2021.

“Everyone is starting to eat, so that feels good,” Holland said. “I’m tremendously happy about the last year for us. Now that it’s a new year, that’s in the past. I’m focused on making sure 2021 is bigger and better. Any time they give me a chance to eat, I’m going to eat.”

In 2021, Holland hopes to keep on rolling. Though he didn’t elaborate on his bad habits, Holland alluded to certain lifestyle changes he’ll need to make to take his game to the next level.

“I’ve got a feeling a year from now all of my fights will be five-round fights,” Holland said. “There will never be such thing as, ‘I can go three rounds,’ again. I have to accept that. I’m willing to accept that. I’m cool with that.

“I’m also willing to accept that some of the things I like to do on a day-to-day basis, I won’t be able to do anymore. I’ve got to be a good boy. I’ve got to be a little bit more of a role model. I don’t want to be a role model, but maybe I’ve got to step it up a little bit. A year from now, I guess you can expect that from me. As far as everything else goes, a whole lot of right hands down people’s throats.”

Holland, 28, most recently competed at UFC 246, when he knocked out Ronaldo Souza in the first round. With the victory, Holland extended his winning streak to five –  a stretch that included four finishes.

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