HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been a whirlwind 24 hours for the MMA community since the main event of UFC 223 fell apart after interim-lightweight champion Tony Ferguson was pulled from the card due to injury, but to Max Holloway, it's just business as usual.
"It is what it is, man," Holloway told Hawaii News Now while checking in at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport last night before departing for Brooklyn, New York.
Holloway, a Waianae native and the UFC's undisputed featherweight champion, stepped in for Ferguson on six days notice yesterday afternoon. Despite recovering from an ankle injury that held him out of the main event of UFC 222 last month, Holloway is medically cleared to fight and is ready to get his gloves on to trade blows with a fighter that is regarded by many as the most feared man in the UFC.
"I can't wait. I can't wait to fight. You don't come across opportunities like this very often. I was ready to go," Holloway said. We been doing P.T. (physical therapy) since and the P.T. went well. I'm cleared and ready to fight now. It is what is, man. I can't wait to go out there and make history."
By history, Holloway is referring to holding both the UFC's featherweight and lightweight titles - becoming only the second fighter to have do so after Conor McGregor accomplished that feat back in 2016 at UFC 205.
"I believe I'm the best man in the world and to be the best, you got to beat the best. And the best is Blessed, "Holloway said. "I can't wait. I'm excited. You hear all these stories about him and I can't wait. I get to share the Octagon with the guy April 7th."
Holloway said that after pulling out of UFC 222, he owed the UFC. So when Ferguson, who has since been stripped of his interim title, pulled out due to injury, Holloway wanted to make up for his wrong by saving the card.
"They needed a favor and I was ready. Now we're here. I'm a fighter, I'm not a matchmaker," he said. "I got a lot of things to do still at 145 but I told you guys, when the UFC says then it's time to step up."
If Holloway were to pull off the upset this Saturday in Brooklyn, a possible rematch with McGregor could be in the future. But the Waianae native isn't looking that far ahead just yet.
"We'll see If I get that champ-champ status," Holloway said of a possible fight with McGregor. "Champ-champ vs. champ-champ would be cool. But right now, we got Khabib on the table and that's who I'm focusing on right now."