Holloway (24-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) enters the featherweight showdown with Jung (24-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC), which takes place at Singapore Indoor Stadium and streams on ESPN+, as a massive betting favorite. He can be found as high as an 8-to-1 favorite from some oddsmakers, meaning the belief is he should win with ease.
“The Korean Zombie” hasn’t competed since April 2022, when he suffered a lopsided title-fight loss to Alexander Volkanovski. He specifically asked to fight Holloway before his career wraps up, and the promotion granted that wish. There’s been some criticism toward UFC matchmakers that it’s not a fair fight at this point, but Holloway thinks that’s unfair.
“At the end of the day, if I was coming off of my Volkanovski fight (and) he is coming off his Volk fight, the talks would be way different,” Holloway told reporters at UFC Fight Night 225 media day. “I think the talks would be, ‘Is this a retirement fight for both guys?’ We’ll see what happens. I was blessed enough to have the Arnold Allen fight. I was in ‘Korean Zombie’s’ shoes for the Arnold Allen fight. Everyone was counting me out.
“At the end of the day, it is what it is. I pay no mind. I think it’s like one year and four months the ‘Korean Zombie’ is going to be out, so I’m expecting the best ‘Korean Zombie’ there is. He has one year and four months to get healed, get healthy, to get better as an athlete, to get better as a person, period. He had to get all his affairs in order, and we’ll see. I think a dangerous ‘Korean Zombie’ is going to show up Saturday.”
No matter the circumstances, Holloway is eager to share the octagon with Jung. Despite both being in the UFC for more than a decade and fighting at the top of the same division, the pair have never crossed paths. They both embrace the opportunity to do it now, and “Blessed” thinks it’s an important bout for his resume.
“This is ‘Korean Zombie’ – legacy fight in every sense of the way, I believe,” Holloway said. “I look forward to it. If I can get a bonus out of this one, too, that’d be amazing.”
Holloway said he’s not thinking about what’s to come beyond Saturday. In addition to focusing on the fight, he’s been dealing with the stress of the Maui wildfires, which has brought out many emotions for the native Hawaiian before stepping onto the cage.
Max Holloway gets choked up discussing the impact of the Hawaii wildfires.
"I always go in there with Hawaii on my back. It's a little bit heavier now." pic.twitter.com/wORnez18u8
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) August 24, 2023
For that reason, Holloway can’t put much thought beyond doing his business at UFC Fight Night 225 then returning home.
“We’ll see what happens,” Holloway said. “First things first is ‘Korean Zombie.’ At the end of the day, if you look at the rankings, I’m the No. 1 contender, and I’ve been busy. … I’m over here fighting contenders, fighting who’s who. Whoever it’s gotta be, whoever is up next, I know there’s been some talk about (Topuria), but we’ll see what happens. He just barely beat a guy who just lost to the champ. So I don’t know how that will shake out.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 225.