Max Holloway doesn’t feel like he was chased back to the featherweight division after an unsuccessful attempt to move up in a bid for the lightweight title.
He just felt an obligation to drop back down to defend his featherweight belt, which he will put on the line against Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC 240 on Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
“I always said, a champ is a champ, and a king is a king, and someone who defends their land, who defends their belt,” Holloway said. “That’s what true kings are, that’s what true kings do, and I wanted to come back down.”
Holloway, 27, has won 13 straight fights at 145 pounds, but suffered his first loss since 2013 when he dropped an interim lightweight title fight to Dustin Poirier in April.
While he’s back at 145, Holloway wasn’t scared off from moving up in weight again by the experience.
“After this fight, if they call me out for August to fight (heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier), guess what: I’m weighing around 210, 220 pounds, I’ll make that walk, and I’ll fight him,” Holloway said. “There’s no time in this. If you want to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world, I don’t think you should use weight as an excuse or anything really as an excuse. You just show up to fight.”
His return to featherweight finds him taking on Edgar, a former lightweight champion who might have earned this opportunity based more on his career resume than recent results.
Edgar bounced back from a loss to Brian Ortega with a unanimous-decision win over Cub Swanson, but that was in April 2018. Edgar hasn’t fought since, but Holloway insists the 37-year-old challenger is still a formidable foe.
“Frankie is Frankie, man,” Holloway said. “If you don’t give this guy the respect that he deserves, he did something that was unthinkable in a division higher than us when he was a much smaller dude, and I can’t wait. These are the fights that excite me. The man’s a legend, and if he’s not a Hall of Famer, a future Hall of Famer, then he’s definitely a Hall of Famer in my eyes at least, and I’ve got nothing but respect for him.”
The bout headlines an ESPN Plus pay-per-view card that includes a women’s featherweight bout between Felicia Spencer and former champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino.
White ‘numb’ to Jones’ legal issues
UFC president Dana White has thrown up his hands amid reports of charges filed against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones related to an incident with a strip club waitress in New Mexico.
“I’m numb to this (expletive) now,” White said Wednesday. “It doesn’t faze me anymore. Every time we do a fight with Jon, I’m wondering if it’s going to be his last.
“I don’t ever worry about what’s going to happen inside the octagon with Jon Jones. He’s the best. It’s unbelievable how good Jon Jones is, but the minute he steps out of the octagon, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Jones, 32, has denied allegations that he put the woman in a chokehold, harassed her and slapped her in the genital region during an April visit to an Albuquerque gentlemen’s club. He is scheduled to appear in court next month.
“There’s two sides to the story, and the truth is somewhere in the middle, I’m sure,” White said.
Rodriguez to headline Mexico City
Featherweight title contender Yair Rodriguez will get his wish of fighting in the main event of the UFC’s return to Mexico City.
Rodriguez will meet Jeremy Stephens on the UFC Fight Night 159 card Sept. 21 at Arena Ciudad de Mexico.
The event also will feature a women’s strawweight bout between Alexa Grasso and former champion Carla Esparza.
Saturday: UFC 240 (ESPN/ESPN Plus PPV), Edmonton, Alberta
Aug. 3: UFC on ESPN 5 (ESPN), Newark, N.J.
Aug. 10: UFC Fight Night 156 (ESPN Plus), Montevideo, Uruguay
Aug. 17: UFC 241 (ESPN/ESPN Plus PPV), Anaheim, Calif.