We’re just over a week away from UFC 212, with UFC heading back to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We will finally see the end of the interim title in the 145 pound division, with an undisputed champion being crowned. Jose Aldo will take on Max Holloway in what is one of the most highly anticipated bouts of 2017.
Max Holloway has won ten consecutive fights since last losing to Conor McGregor, while Jose Aldo looks to shake off the cobwebs and remind everyone just why he was the pound for pound number one fighter in the world for years. The card also boasts of an electric strawweight fight in the co – main event, with Claudia Gadelha facing Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
Prior to the fight week, both Jose Aldo and Max Holloway talked to the media, and we managed to catch up with the UFC Interim Featherweight Champion.
Talking about interim titles, UFC announced yet another interim title fight for UFC 213, with Yoel Romero facing Robert Whittaker for the interim middleweight strap. Max Holloway, while not being averse to interim titles wants the legacy and pay raise that comes with the undisputed title.
“You know, like I said before, it is what it is. The belt is nice, you know?”, Max told me. “The belt is great and stuff, but it is a belt. At the end of the day, I want the undisputed career. I want to be known as the best ever to ever do this. So the belt is great and whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s the pay that comes along with it, you know?
It’s me cementing my legacy that comes along with it. There are so many other things behind it than just the belts. So, it’d be great; I love the belt, don’t get me wrong. The belt is cool as sh*t and heavy, but at the end of the day, it’s just a belt. You know? It’s the pay and stuff that comes along with it that’s great.”
Going into the fight, both Aldo and Holloway have said things to stir each other up. While Holloway maintains that it’s just business for him, Aldo has taken things personally. The last time Aldo took things to heart against McGregor, and got riled up going into the fight, McGregor capitalised on Aldo being emotionally charged.
However, Max doesn’t know if that would necessarily give him the edge going into the fight.
“No, I can’t speak for the man. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens when June 3rd comes, you know? I’m excited; I’m getting ready for the best Jose Aldo, so I can’t wait to step in the Octagon, look at him and we’ll go from there.”
Max’s last loss came nearly four years ago, to a man, who quite fittingly, was the last man to defeat Jose Aldo inside the Octagon. Conor McGregor is busy rallying for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., and has given no indication as to when he would return to the Octagon.
So would Max Holloway call out the man who last defeated him, if he beats Jose Aldo? Holloway shrugged it off, saying Conor picks and chooses his fights.
“*Laughs* Look look look… why? Why would I call the guy out? That guy picks and chooses, you know? That guy picks and chooses his fights. He chooses who he has to fight. All these guys calling him out are just wasting their time. He’s going to choose who he wants to fight.
And at the end of the day, I’m working on me. I want to get to the point where I choose who I get to fight, you know what I mean? All these people calling me out. So, this guy that you talked about – even after he won (against Jose or Alvarez), even after he won the title in the division, he never talked about defending or fighting anybody. So, it is what it is. There’s no reason to talk about (it). The guy is going to pick the fights he wants to fight, and that’s where I want to work towards.
I want to work to a point where I can pick the fights I want to fight, and this and that. And everybody calling me out, so that’s all it is.”
While Holloway has been fighting since 2010, he is still 25 years old! Holloway has already fought 20 times in his professional career, amassing a 17 – 3 (win – loss) record. The Hawaiian feels that he is ready to become a world champion, and looked back at his path that led to his fight with Jose.
“Oh man, this means a lot. This means a lot – to headline a card, a PPV card and what not. And do that in this guy’s (Aldo) hometown, and potentially having the undisputed title – it’s great. So I can’t wait, man. It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice – a lot of just, you know, trials and tribulations. It’s just great, man. It’s been a (long) road but you can’t step back and smell the flowers just yet.
It’s just one foot at a time, and I’m not looking too far back, and I’m not looking too far forward. When I’m done and retire, I can sit back and smell roses, but right now, it’s grind time. It’s great when I think about it, but I try not to think about it too much. There’s a lot I want to do in this sport, and there’s a lot left I can do. So that’s what I’m focusing on.”
Jose Aldo is a very dynamic striker, and is fundamentally strong in his striking, along with his lethal leg kicks. Aldo is also a black belt in BJJ, and trains out of one of the best gyms in the world today. Max isn’t going into the fight with any preconceived notions, and said the world will witness an exciting fight come June 3rd.
“That’s the great thing – you tune into the Pay – Per – View on 3rd (June), and you guys can watch. You guys can watch everything, and I don’t have to say anything. Go read… go look at all the stats, go look at my stats, go look at Jose Aldo’s stats and you guys can tell me how we finish. How you guys think it gets done, and tune into (the fight) on June 3rd, because it’s going to be an exciting one.”