Albuquerque fetes UFC champ with ‘Holm-coming’ parade

Fans line the streets of Historic Route 66 before a parade held to honor UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm in her native Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. Holm captured the belt from the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey on Nov. 14, in Australia. (AP Photo/Juan Labreche)
Fans line the streets of Historic Route 66 before a parade held to honor UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm in her native Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. Holm captured the belt from the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey on Nov. 14, in Australia. (AP Photo/Juan Labreche)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm let the tears flow Sunday as she thanked hundreds of fans who turned out for a parade in her native Albuquerque.

“I see all the signs and the happy faces. You here Albuquerque made this possible,” Holm said while standing on an outdoor stage at the city’s Civic Plaza. “My whole career started right here. It wasn’t just my team that helped me believe in myself, but it was the support of Albuquerque and I just thank you so much.”

Throngs of people lined downtown streets to get a glimpse of Holm. Many of them held up signs claiming her as “Burque’s finest” or “Burque’s #1,” referring to Albuquerque by its nickname. Holm waved to well-wishers while standing on a trolley traveling along the parade route. She also signed some autographs and posed for snapshots. The procession included a high school marching band and classic cars carrying officials including Gov. Susana Martinez and Mayor Richard Berry.

The ride then culminated with a presentation at Civic Plaza.

Holm, who left the speech she had written at home, thanked her longtime coach, Mike Winkeljohn, her training team and her family. She also assured that she was going to keep looking for fights to take on.

“I’m not stopping now. I want to keep taking it to the top,” Holm said.

Martinez issued a proclamation declaring it Holly Holm Day across the state and gifted the fighter with a pair of gloves.

The 34-year-old Holm captured the belt from the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey on Nov. 14 in Australia. She now has a 10-0 record after pulling off the stunning win over Rousey in UFC 193, knocking out the women’s bantamweight champ in the second round with a powerful kick to the head.

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