HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite not having fought since December 2017, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway wants everyone in the 145 pound division that the “Blessed Era” is still in full effect.
“I feel good, I feel great, I look great,” Holloway said ahead of his second title defense against Brian Ortega this Saturday at UFC 231. “I can’t wait to go out there and do this thing. A lot of people keep talking this, keep talking about that, health, blah, blah, blah. We’ll see.”
The reason why Holloway’s health is at the forefront of most pre-fight discussion is because he was forced to pull out of a title fight against Frankie Edgar back in March, followed by a failed weight cut for a last-minute 155-pound title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in April and then a mysterious illness that forced him out of UFC 226 in July against Ortega just days before the fight.
But Holloway is looking forward to silencing his critics regarding his health and wants to focus on the fight itself, which is a matchup against of the premier Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the UFC.
“Everyone keeps talking about how (Ortega) has great boxing, everybody keeps talking about how hiss great jiu-jitsu; I know how good his jiu-jitsu is. We come from the same lineage. His master (Rener Gracie) is the family that brang over jiu-jitsu, Gracie jiu-jitsu, over so I respect (it).”
Holloway, a two-stripe purple belt under Rylan Lizares, is confident in his ability to grapple and roll with Ortega.
“Like a magician, I didn’t have to dig that deep into my bag of tricks yet. I don’t have to. Everybody thinks I’m a striker but just wait and see. I can’t wait.”
Fighting up in Canada is nothing new for Holloway, who won the interim 145-pound title against Anthony Pettis before unifying the title in w in over Jose Aldo. As for what the fans up in Toronto can look forward to is a typical Holloway fight - a high-paced, action-packed war.
“They can expect what they expect every fight: Fireworks,” he said. “Christmas is coming early. They moved it to December 8t. Last year they moved it to December 2nd. I’m sorry for moving the dates on you guys but make sure you guys tune in. Open your guys presents and make sure to thank Santa, because it’s gonna be a good one.”