After Frankie Edgar had to pull out of UFC 218 due to a injured orbital, there was a crazy storm of fighters trying to get that fight. Once there is a title on the line, everyone comes out of the woodwork. Jose Aldo, Ricardo Lamas, Cub Swanson, and Brian Ortega all wanted to leave their match-ups they were booked in for a chance at Max Holloway’s featherweight title. At the end of the day, it ended up being the former king of the division. Early in the negotiations, Holloway’s manager leaked some of the name ideas, but now he’s just revealed what great lengths Holloway was going to go to stay on the card.
“[Darren Elkins was considered as a replacement and] the UFC wasn’t too excited about that. [Max Holloway] said he would fight [Tony] Ferguson, he talked about [Donald] ‘Cowboy’ [Cerrone], going up to 155 and doing whatever. We thought that we were going to get Cub [Swanson]. but it ended up being [Jose] Aldo. Max just calmly said, ‘It is what it is, and let’s do it.’ He signed the bout contract within minutes.”
Detroit, you guys are a bunch of tough mfers. I met many of you last month when we visited. You guys deserve the best fight card of the year and youre still gonna get it. I’m fighting no matter what
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) November 9, 2017
“When Max won the belt, he did it in a way that he cleaned out the division on his way to it. He didn’t jump the line or skip around, so there wasn’t a lot of people left to fight. In order to fight somebody in the top-10 that we hadn’t already fought, Max would have to go all the way back to No. 9, which I believe was Elkins, and that didn’t look like it was going to be a headliner type of fight. At the end of the day, Dana [White] decided it was Aldo, and Max was not really balking at it, so it is what it is, as Max said.” — Max Holloway’s manager Brian Butler speaking to MMA Junkie Radio.
Just sit there and think about this for a second. Max Holloway could have fought Tony Ferguson at lightweight for UFC 218. That’d be one way to get the rematch with Conor McGregor. Double champ versus double champ? The possibility is insane. It’s such a crazy match-up, that you almost overlook how bonkers a fight with Donald Cerrone would be. Probably the most important takeaway from all of this though, is how game Max Holloway was to be up for anyone. That’s something the fans and the UFC respects. He’ll defend his featherweight title against Aldo on Saturday.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/30/2017.