Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is still disappointed he didn’t have the chance to battle unbeaten lightweight star Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Holloway was briefly slated to fight Nurmagomedov for the vacant lightweight title in 2014, but was pulled from the matchup at the eleventh hour by the New York State Athletic Commission.
Speaking on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Holloway looked back on that nixed fight with Nurmagomedov, conceding that he’s still disappointed it didn’t happen.
“[Nutritionist George] Lockhart took me on for the fight,” Holloway recalled (via Bloody Elbow). “We called him, we had a talk, and then he did a freaking interview talking about ‘this is the biggest cut we’re ever gonna do…’
“And then the first thing that happened when I land, a f—king meeting with the f—king… not even with the UFC doctor, a doctor from the New York Commission,” Holloway continued. “And then they tell me (that) every single f—king day, they’re gonna check up on us. And I was like, ‘Holy shit, what the hell?’ And I was fine. I was a little bit bigger than I usually was.
“I’m like four pounds away from making the weight,” Holloway added. “I’m going like, ‘It’s tough, but I’m gonna get there. I know I’m gonna get there. And then they come in and they check, and we have, like, hours left before weigh-ins… They come in, they check, they looked at me and they said, ‘You don’t look good. You can’t do it.’ That’s all that happened. And they walked out. I wasn’t fighting. I was like,’ What do you mean?’ He was like, ‘You look skinny.’
“I was like, ‘Coming down, losing weight, I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna look like how I first met you on f—king Monday. What is going on?’”
Holloway was of course gutted to be pulled from his fight with Nurmagomedov, and is still feeling that way years later, when Nurmagomedov is retired.
“The chance of fighting someone of [Nurmagomedov’s] stature, and I pride myself for fighting anybody, anywhere, any time, any weight class,” Holloway said. “He was already considered the number one pound-for-pound guy in the world before he even had the belt. He was one of the scariest dudes, they said. I just wanted to fight him.”
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