Max Holloway may be the fastest evolving featherweight on the UFC’s books. Currently riding a seven-fight win streak, Holloway will take on Jeremy Stephens at UFC 194, a man who previously drafted in the services of the Hawaiian ahead of his UFC 136 camp for Anthony Pettis.
As for the ever-growing arsenal Holloway has displayed, he believes fighters competing at the top level cannot just rely on being “good at everything” anymore. For ‘Blessed’, you must be great in every aspect of mixed martial arts to succeed in today’s landscape.
“All I focus on is hard work and getting into the gym,” he said, speaking at the UFC Dublin media day. “I’m always focusing on what’s next and taking one step at a time. You’ve got to stay grounded, people get a little bit of success in this business and they start snowballing and they start to get bigger than they actually are. You see that and usually it’s a very sketchy ending and I don’t want to be one of those guys. I want to ride this bus until the wheels fall off.
“This sport is changing, this sport is growing and if you don’t grow with it, you’re going to be left behind. Luckily, I’ve been able to grow and I’m still young in this sport. I’d like to think I’ve got a lot more years in it, but you’ve just got to grow and take one step at a time and keep your head.
“You’ve got to grow with the sport and not get out of your comfort zone. You have to train everything. You can’t just be good at everything anymore. Being good at everything will barely get you by, you’ve got to be great. You’ve got to be great at everything to be among the greats of this sport. That’s what I plan on doing.”
At UFC 194, Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor will meet to unify their titles. Furthermore, Holloway and Stephens will contest another bout that could have big implications at the top of the featherweight division. To add to that, the day before Aldo, McGregor, Holloway and Stephens take to the Octagon, Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes will clash in another massive bout at 145 lbs.
“It’s exciting that we’re all going to be on the same scales,” Holloway agreed. “We got McGregor and Aldo, we have Frankie and Chad the day before. I’m fighting the same day as the champions are so it’s great, man. It’s a great feeling.
“We’ll see what happens, all I can do it focus on Jeremy, hopefully I can pull off the win and then, from there, we can see who wins the other fights. Like you said, it’s an exciting time and I can’t wait, December should be a fun month for everyone.”
When asked about an ideal situation when it comes to the outcomes of the crucial featherweight ties in December, Holloway can see a number of ways that both Aldo versus McGregor and Edgar versus Mendes could work out in his favor.
“You can make two cases, you know. If I win, Aldo wins and even Frankie was to win, they might not give Frankie the rematch. Why not give Aldo a new challenger? We might be able to make a case there.
“If McGregor wins there is a bunch of people who want that fight. Again, why not give the fans what they want? That’s a rematch that a lot of people want to see. UFC have been doing that lately, they’ve giving the fans what they want to see.
“We could go either way, but I’m not trying to get full of myself, I’m not trying to step too far ahead of myself. I got Jeremy Stephens and he has the power to put anyone to sleep, so we’ll see what happens on December 12.”
Finally, the Hawaiian featherweight gave a prediction for the Mendes and Edgar bout. When pushed to pick a winner out of Aldo and McGregor, Holloway highlighted why he believes that the new IV ban will have a big impact on the proceedings for the UFC 194 main event.
Holloway claimed that McGregor “didn’t look like the amazing McGregor that everyone is used to” in his last outing against Mendes, in which the Irishman secured the interim featherweight championship.
“I’m thinking Frankie (will win) with the Chad fight and we’ll see about that belt fight. The two of them are big boys at 145 and with that IV ban, I think that affected McGregor the last time,” he said. “He didn’t look like the amazing McGregor that everyone is used to. He looked kind of flat and that’s to do with the weight. I think the IV ban is super bad. With the IV ban, I don’t know how that main event ends up.”
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