Featherweight champion Max Holloway was as surprised as everyone else when he got the call to step up and fight for the lightweight title when interim titleholder Tony Ferguson was forced to pull out of UFC 223 due to injury.
As “Blessed” prepared to board a flight for New York to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov this weekend, KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello caught up with Holloway at the airport.
“The news is crazy. My manager called me. He told me Tony's hurt and they want you and Khabib, so I was like, how do you turn down an opportunity like this? Opportunities like this come once in a lifetime. Really, only one guy was able to do it. I'm glad to be the second guy and go out there and make history,” said Holloway.
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Holloway was expected to face Brian Ortega in his next outing before Ferguson's injury. He has a 145-pound title to defend, but the chance to be a two-division UFC champion was too good to decline. While he considers Nurmagomedov an “animal,” Holloway sees the Russian as just another fighter.
“I'm here to fight. I'm not a matchmaker. I've got business to handle at 145, but I said when the UFC called, I'm one call away. I'm the right guy. I'm here, six days notice. April 7 is going to be a great night,” he said.
“You know what they say, to be the best you've got to beat the best and the best is blessed. I can't wait. This guy is one of the most feared guys,” said Holloway. “I don't know why. We're all fighters. We all train. He's human. I'm human. We get to go out there and find out who's better.”
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