There's a new face of the UFC's 145-pound division, and his name is Max Holloway.
Holloway secured the UFC interim featherweight championship when he defeated former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 206 back in December, after finishing "Showtime" via third round TKO. This set up a unification bout with undisputed champ Jose Aldo at UFC 212, which took place earlier this month from "Scarface's" backyard of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Although Aldo put on quite the performance during the first two rounds, Holloway was able to connect on a beautiful 1-2 combo that dropped the Brazilian down to the mat, prompting the Hawaiian to pounce on the champ and deliver some nasty ground-and-pound before the ref was forced to call the fight off.
With his victory, Holloway became the third man in history to hold the UFC featherweight strap.
Recently, Holloway joined MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to talk about the big win and stated that he didn't think Aldo wanted to fight after the second round (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“When I was putting my hand out and stuff, every time I’d put it, he would shut it down,” Holloway told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
“He would throw something, he would do something reactive. Every time in the beginning rounds when I feinted at him, he was jumping back. I [saw these] big motions from him and he was countering super fast at certain things I was doing.”
“I told myself, he’s not firing,” Holloway said. “It’s time to taunt. Let’s taunt. Let’s see if he cracks me. I taunted him — I put my hands up for a couple of seconds.
"And he didn’t do nothing. I was like OK, I’m gonna do it again. And he did nothing. I was like man, this guy don’t want to fight.”
“These guys are playing checkers,” Holloway said. “I’m out here playing chess. When they figure it out, it’s too late.”
“I already knew our game plan was gonna work,” Holloway said. “There’s enough tape. Aldo, he’s one of the greatest ever, but it’s just time for a new era.
"It’s time for the new wave of guys, us young guys are coming up and we’re proving it. We’re showing to the world that we’re here to stay, we’re taking forever.
"MMA is forever evolving. You either evolve with the sport or you get left behind. I’m trying to lead the back. I’m trying to sprint.”
What are your thoughts on Holloway's comments saying Aldo didn't want to fight after the second round of their fight? Let us know in the comments section below!
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