UFC 223 in Brooklyn is now in the rear-view mirror, with Khabib Nurmagomedov emerging as the new lightweight champion. However, he did not defeat the man he was originally scheduled to face to earn his first title in the company. For that matter, he didn't defeat the second foe he was scheduled to square off against, either. But, that stand-in opponent was mighty close to helping deliver one of the most anticipated fights of the year. That's where we begin our look at the biggest UFC news making the rounds for Tuesday, April 10.
Following the unfortunate incident that led to former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson having to pull out of the bout with Nurmagomedov, immediately there to stand in for the fight was reigning featherweight champion Max Holloway. But when the weigh-in portion of the event hit on Friday morning, more bad news hit the event when the New York State Athletic Commission deemed Holloway unfit to compete. However, Holloway was close to making the required weight cut to 155 pounds for the event.
During an appearance on "The MMA Hour" Monday, the featherweight champion, who revealed he was possibly over 180 pounds when fight week arrived, detailed the events of that Friday weigh-in and just how close he was to getting to 155 in time to make the championship bout official.
"[Doctors] checked me on the morning of the weight cut on Thursday," Holloway told Ariel Helwani. "And before media day, they checked me and then they kept checking me. We were cutting weight and every time we were cutting they were coming in, coming in and coming in."
Holloway confirmed reports from MMAJunkie from earlier in the week that he was around 159 pounds when officials called it.
"The last real push, they came in and checked and they called it. Depressing s—, man. It's pretty sad, but it is what it is. These things happen."
"We got a little bit under [159 pounds]," he added. "We were close; we were in striking distance for sure."
You have to commend Holloway, who has been out dealing with an injury of his own recently, for taking a fight of this magnitude on short notice and attempting to make the required weight. But with weight-cutting turning into such a prevalent issue these days, you really can't fault the NYSAC for shutting this down if they had even the slightest feeling "Blessed" was going to hurt himself by cutting more weight.