The circumstances surrounding the UFC 223 main event could not be more dramatic.
Just days ago, it looked like Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov might actually step into the cage together in the Saturday card’s main event, but then the unthinkable happened. Ferguson was forced out of the fight with a freak leg injury—on April Fools of all days—resulting in the bout’s fourth cancellation. Ferguson was then replaced by a ballsy UFC featherweight champ in Max Holloway, who steps up on just six days notice.
While the drama quotient has been high, it’s clear that for Nurmagomedov and Holloway, this is all business. Though they will attempt to pound each other into applesauce in a few days, there is no ill-will between them whatsoever. In fact, they’ve even been cutting weight for the fight, side by side in Brooklyn.
Watch Nurmagomedov and Holloway shed the pounds together on treadmills in the video at the top of this post.
Nurmagomedov will enter the UFC 223 main event with a 25-0 professional record, having never been defeated as a professional fighter. His last nine wins have occurred in the UFC’s Octagon, where he’s thwarted game opposition such as Thiago Tavares, Abel Trujillo, Rafael dos Anjos, Michael Johnson and Edson Barboza.
Holloway, meanwhile, is on a crazy, 12-fight streak of his own. Highlights of this run include dominant defeats of Andre Fili, Akira Corassani, Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas, Anthony Pettis, and featherweight legend Jose Aldo (twice). His overall record stands at an impressive 19-3.
Do you think Max Holloway can do the seemingly impossible and hand Khabib Nurmagomedov the first loss of his illustrious career on just six days notice? Join the conversation in the comments section below!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/3/2018.