Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion Max Holloway got a curve bull hurled at him after he was pegged to rematch Jose Aldo after an injury forced Frankie Edgar out of his “Blessed” title fight at UFC 218 on Dec. 2, 2017, in Detroit, Michigan.
For Holloway, though, it doesn’t matter who stands across from him inside the Octagon next because he was ready and willing to take on any and all comers.
"I heard a lot of names — Cub Swanson, Ricardo Lamas, Brian Ortega, Darren Elkins, Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor," Holloway told ESPN. "I told them I didn't care. They already know I don't care. All I ask is to send me a contract,” said the champ.
Holloway defeated Aldo via knockout at UFC 212 earlier this year to win the division strap (see it again here). Though many observers feel the fight was going Aldo’s way up until he got clipped, “Blessed” is confused with that analysis.
"Our first fight, I don't know what people are watching, but some say I was losing until I dropped him in the third. Those must be some hardcore Aldo fans. But, he's been one of the best guys for years, so to show I'm the best in back-to-back fights, sign me up."
Known for his lethal leg kicks, Aldo didn’t throw in volumes against Holloway as he has grown accustomed to, with reports surfacing that the Brazilian bomber was a battling an injury that hindered his kicking attack.
Holloway, meanwhile, takes issue with that, claiming that making excuses for his losing gameplan is downright cowardly.
"That was kind of cowardly to me," Holloway said.
"To say something like that and take away from someone's win. I've never taken away from someone's win. I just thought it was silly.
Hopefully, he doesn't have an injury this time, and hopefully he kicks more. Kicks don't — the guy was dead tired in the second round. There's a feeling in there when a guy is falling off,” he added.
"His mouth was open. I was able to taunt him. I Stockton-slapped him, and from then on I knew, 'Wow, this guy is not really moving anymore.' That was the time to turn up the heat, and that's what we did."
Indeed, the heat has been turned on for quite some time for Holloway, as he is the proud owner of an 11-fight win steak and hopes to add to his legacy by defending his 145-pound title for the first time against one of the all-time greats.
Can he get the job done … again?