On Saturday, UFC featherweight champion, Max Holloway will move up in weight and look to become the next champ-champ of the UFC.
However, the path to this title shot wasn’t easy. In April of 2018, Holloway was expected to step in on short notice to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title. Then, he was removed from the fight as the New York State Athletic Commission believed it was unsafe to cut the weight.
Then came the July fight with Brian Ortega were health issues forced Holloway to pull out of the fight. That, in turn, put Holloway in a depressive state. Now, Holloway opened up on his rough 2018 in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
”Man, the last fight [against Brian Ortega at UFC 231] was emotional,” Holloway said. “The year leading up to that, I had a bunch of fights fall through, had a little depression. I was fighting somewhat of depression. It was just crazy to have the fight like that.
”The last year, part of my career, three fights that got pulled from me,” he added. “I got hurt. I got hurt. After that, the doctors pulled me twice. It goes from a guy… I’m so used to fighting two to four times a year to only fighting one time a year now. I had no control or say in it. After that stuff that happened, I was thinking like, ‘Man, what if I don’t ever fight again?’ That’s what led into it.”
Ultimately, Holloway overcame quite a bit and has a shot at another belt on Saturday night.
”I got to figure out other things in my life and do stuff,” Holloway said of the past year. “It was amazing. It was an amazing year. I grew a lot as a person … A true champion is not a guy who goes up there and can do champion stuff.
“A true champion is someone who can hit rock bottom, come back up. This fight, April 13, next week, with Dustin, me and him, we had the highs, the lows that are lows in this sport, highs that are highs. Now we’re back at the highs of the highs, be able to fight for the 155 gold, one of the most dangerous divisions.”
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime