ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The world's No. 1-rated female boxer is leaving the sport and will focus on a mixed martial arts career.
Holly Holm announced Tuesday that she will dedicate herself to an MMA career after her last scheduled boxing match May 11 against Mary McGee.
The 31-year-old Albuquerque boxer is focusing on MMA just as the sport is beginning to embrace female fighters. In February, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche made history by fighting in UFC's first women's bout.
"I sleep good at night knowing that I've challenged myself over my career rather than just take what's supposed to be easy," Holm said at a news conference. ". I feel like my passion's just going to MMA."
Holm is an 18-time, three-division world champion in boxing and has a 32-2-3 boxing record. She is 3-0 in MMA bouts.
The popular boxer trains at Albuquerque's Jackson Mixed Martial Arts, a gym that has sent a number of fighters to UFC, including current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
"Since I first started fighting, it became my passion," Holm said. "I decided a long time ago, after quitting school to fight, that I would box as long as my heart was in it. One of my biggest and controversial fights was against Christy Martin. Then, it was Mary Jo Sanders. There's always a champion. This is my own journey. Every one of my fights have helped me to believe in myself."