Though UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway closed out the year 2018 on a high note, defeating Brian Ortega in December, the rest of the year was not particularly kind to him. The Hawaiian star was forced to deal with a procession of cancelled fights, injuries, and some struggles with depression.
Max Holloway opened up on his rough 2018 — including his fight with depression — in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
”Man, the last fight [against Brian Ortega at UFC 231] was emotional,” Holloway said. “The year leading up to that, I had a bunch of fights fall through, had a little depression. I was fighting somewhat of depression. It was just crazy to have the fight like that.
”The last year, part of my career, three fights that got pulled from me,” he added. “I got hurt. I got hurt. After that, doctors pulled me twice. It goes from a guy… I’m so used to fighting two to four times a year to only fighting one time a year now. I had no control or say in it. After that stuff that happened, I was thinking like, ‘Man, what if I don’t ever fight again?’ That’s what led into it.”
Luckily, Max Holloway was able to emerge from this troubling stretch. He’s now looking to start 2019 on a high note, by defeating Dustin Poirier and winning the interim lightweight title at UFC 236 this Saturday.
”I got to figure out other things in my life and do stuff,” Holloway said of the past year. “It was amazing. It was an amazing year. I grew a lot as a person … A true champion is not a guy who goes up there and can do champion stuff.
“A true champion is someone who can hit rock bottom, come back up. This fight, April 13, next week, with Dustin, me and him, we had the highs, the lows that are lows in this sport, highs that are highs. Now we’re back at the highs of the highs, be able to fight for the 155 gold, one of the most dangerous divisions.”
What do you think the year 2019 will look like for Max Holloway?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/10/2019.