Max Holloway handles loss like a class act

Max Holloway out of scheduled title fight at UFC 272 due to injury, replacement sought to face Alexander Volkanovski

The highly-anticipated trilogy fight for UFC featherweight gold has already been lost. Earlier this week it was reported that UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski would meet former champion, Max Holloway, at UFC 272 in March, but those plans have come to a halt due to injury.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported on Friday that Holloway has been forced to withdraw from the title fight after he re-aggravated an injury. While the injury to Holloway was not disclosed in the ESPN report, the former champion reportedly informed the UFC of the news on Thursday although the promotion has not made an official announcement. The report also made it known that there is no official timetable for Max Holloway to return from the injury.

Back at UFC 245 in December of 2019, Max Holloway dropped the featherweight title to Alexander Volkanovski when he lost by unanimous decision. The two would run it back in July of 2020 and the second fight would prove to be even closer than the first, with Holloway falling by way of split decision in their rematch.

After his back-to-back losses to Volkanovski, Holloway would bounce back in 2021 and show an improved version of himself when he put on two memorable performances against contenders Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez. After picking up wins over Kattar and Rodriguez, Max Holloway lined himself up for the opportunity to fight Volkanovski in the trilogy despite going 0-2 in their first two meetings.

Following the news of Max Holloway having to withdraw, multiple fighters threw their name into the hat as potential replacements, but only one is seriously being considered according to a separate report. Josh Emmett was one of the first fighters to offer up his services, saying he’s just awaiting the call if the UFC is ready to give him the opportunity. Emmett most recently returned from a year-long layoff and defeated ranked contender, Dan Ige. The victory was the fourth straight for Emmett.

After Emmett offered himself up to step in for Max Holloway, former flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo jumped into the conversation as “Triple C” is ready to come out of retirement and fight for a third UFC belt. Cejudo has not competed since he retired at UFC 249 in June of 2020 after defending his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz.

However, despite the eagerness of Josh Emmett and Henry Cejudo, another contender is reportedly the top option to take Holloway’s spot and fight Volkanovski at UFC 272. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported on Friday that Chan Sung Jung, best known as “The Korean Zombie” is the clear front-runner to replace Max Holloway.

In his last fight, The Korean Zombie defeated Dan Ige by unanimous decision in June of 2021, and although he was injured in that fight when he suffered a dislocated shoulder, it appears he is healthy and ready to return. There’s been no official announcement from the UFC on Holloway’s withdrawal or a replacement, but there already appears to be plans in motion to keep the UFC featherweight champion active at UFC 272.

Next weekend’s UFC Vegas 46 main event just also added some implications to it as Giga Chikadze is set to face Calvin Kattar, and depending on how the fight plays out, the winner could also be thrown in the mix to face Volkanovski in March.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information