UFC 218 is just around the corner, and the main event in Detroit will see the UFC Featherweight Champion, Max Holloway defend his newly won title against the previous champion, Jose Aldo. Max was supposed to fight Frankie Edgar, but with Frankie injured, Jose Aldo stepped in as his replacement.
Max Holloway on Frankie Edgar’s injury
Talking about Frankie Edgar’s injury, Holloway remarked that it must’ve been a “hell of an injury”, during our conversation with the champion and the challenger.
“It must have been one hell of a hit to injure him, because that guy never, ever gets injured, you know?”, Holloway told me during the UFC 218 media call. “When I heard he was injured, I was bummed. There’s a lot of fights for legacy; like I said before, you know the history with Hawaiians and Hawaii. So I just wanted to get one back for the good guys, and that ended up happening (Frankie’s injury).
I wish that guy a speedy recovery, Hopefully, maybe down the line we can face each other, and get that fight done. But right now, like I said, it’s Jose Aldo. He’s the next one I have, and he’s the next one I take down.”
With Frankie injured, Cub Swanson threw his name into the hat, as the fans salivated thinking about a rematch between the two explosive fighters. However, the fight was given to Jose Aldo, but for the first time in years, the featherweight division is once again thriving, with challengers and champions willing to step up and fight for the belt.
However, Max was quick to point out that it wasn’t his job, to choose who to fight next.
“That’s not my job, you know? I’m a fighter. That’s what I do, I fight. You live ‘em up, and I knock ‘em down. That’s math — one plus one is two, two plus two is four. You guys are the MMA analysts, you guys are the MMA writers, and that’s your job. There’s match-makers for the UFC, and that’s their job.
The match-makers picked this fight, at the end of the day. It is what it is.”
Holloway says it will be a completely new Aldo at UFC 218
Max has always been someone to come back strong in the later rounds, and much like Cerrone, doesn’t usually start strong. Holloway told me that he was expecting a completely different Jose Aldo, and will go inside the cage not thinking about what happened the last time around.
“You guys can call me Dory, and when you guys find it funny, you called me Memo. I don’t even remember fighting this guy. This is a whole new guy, and I’m going down and I’m going to fight him. This is what I do.
Too many people depend too much on what happened during the first fight, so it’s going play again in the second fight. You don’t know what happens. I’m getting ready for the best Jose Aldo, like I do in every camp. I was getting ready for the best Frankie Edgar, now it’s Aldo, and so on and so forth.
You guys haven’t even seen me in championship rounds. I haven’t even gone into fourth round, so no one knows. It’s true — I might be a slow started in the beginning, and I get stronger as I fights go on, but it still happens. I got new tricks up my sleeve for this fight. Tune in, and do not miss out. It’s going to be fun.
As I said, this card is stacked from top to bottom. The opening fight on the opening card, and not just the main card. The main card is stacked, but the whole card is stacked (including the prelims). I got a teammate again with me; I got Yancy Medeiros. The last time Yancy and I fought on the same card (UFC 212), we fought Brazilians.
Who fights Brazilians in Brazil? And look what happened! We do it now on U.S.A soil, and I see the fights going in two ways, and I see two Hawaiians coming out on top that night.”
Jose Aldo on his previous fight at UFC 212
Jose Aldo recently remarked that he was focused more on Holloway’s offensive game the last time around, and relied more on his defensive skills. When asked if that was the correct interpretation of what he meant, Aldo said that the last fight could’ve gone either way, and he wasn’t making any excuses.
“I think the first fight, first of all, was great, and I think we both gave our all. I think we both came out as champions, and it’s a sport — you cannot predict what’s going to happen. You can’t count exactly on what’s going to happen. I don’t necessarily see any mistakes; I had my chances in the fight, and Max had his chances, and he was able to finish the fight.
So, there’s not really too much to be said. I think it was a fight, and it’s the fans that got to win.”
Jose now knows Holloway better, and the former kingpin told us that he focused more on his boxing this time around.
“Yeah, I spent about a month boxing with Garcia, and I felt like I was in my comfort zone, and I needed to evolve. And that’s exactly what I did, focusing on the boxing. I think I evolved a lot, and got a lot better, and I was happy with how it went.”
New chapter in my story: Jose Aldo on his fight at UFC 218
During the call, Holloway remarked that this fight would be a “legacy fight” for him, and when asked about Jose’s thoughts, the former featherweight champion once again opened the door to foray into the boxing world, and said he wanted to finish his UFC career as a champion.
“I think this is a new chapter in my story, and there is a lot that can be said. I want to finish my… I want to win this title, and I want to finish my fights off in the UFC. I want to finish those off as a champion. So I want to honour that contract.
But, this is a new stage in my career.”
Aldo squashes beef with Conor McGregor; says it was never personal
Finally, Aldo also recently stated that he understood why Conor did what he did during their promotional tour. When asked if that meant that their rivalry was now over, Aldo replied that there wasn’t any animosity to begin with.
“You know, there was never really any rivalry between Conor McGregor and I. I think we promoted the fight well. He talks to promote his fights, and I fight, we’re different in that. But, the fight ended really quickly, and I couldn’t show what I trained for all those months. But I think the real rivalry is inside the cage, and every athlete’s desire is to win. So that’s exactly… I don’t have any rivalry with Max or anything. But inside the cage, we’re athletes, and we want to go in there and we want to win.”