With little more than 48 hours to go until Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis clash for the interim UFC featherweight championship in the main event of UFC 206 on Saturday night in Toronto, Canada, the two faced the media yesterday projecting different mind sets to say the least.
Putting aside the drama and controversy surrounding the UFC’s featherweight division and the credence of it’s championship, there is a stellar fight lined up this Saturday night as Holloway and Pettis scheduled to go toe-to-toe for the very first time.
Pettis inists Holloway has been copying his style for quite some time and he’s preparing to face a mirror image of his own skill set. “Max, he does a lot of the stuff that I do,” Pettis said. “I watch his fights and you can tell he’s been studying my fight style, even before he was set to fight me.
“A lot of stuff I do in certain situations, he does it. I think it’s easy to game plan for somebody like that. I know what he’s looking for, I know what he’s trying to do and I know what the outcome is if it does happen.”
For Holloway accepting the fight with Pettis is, for him at least, further proof he is willing to fight the best competition at the drop of a hat, and is already looking ahead at what the UFC will do with him when he hopes to capture the interim featherweight title.
“I’m a fighter. I want to fight,” Holloway said. “If you want to prove you’re the best in the world, why the f**k you being a crybaby? Don’t be f**king crying. I was willing to fight whoever. I’ll fight anybody, anywhere, any time, any place. It shows. If you believe you’re the best in the world you fight anybody, anywhere, any time.
“That’s one more stronger case for me when I get the belt. I’ve fought my last five guys, they’re all ranked in the top-five, top-seven. UFC is going to be scratching their heads like, ‘What the hell do we do with this guy with the belt? He fought all our contenders.’ That’s their problem to focus on. I’m going to focus on fighting and fighting only. It is what it is. That fight fell through, and here we are with Pettis.”
When it comes to a 145lb title shot, it may have come sooner than expected. But for Pettis it’s Christmas come early and he believes would guarantee him the unification bout for the official championship belt with newly-minted José Aldo.
“It wasn’t my decision to make this a title fight,” Pettis said. “But Merry Christmas to me; thank you. This is a good early Christmas gift to myself. To me this is a guaranteed title shot. You never know because in the UFC they can say, ‘You win your next fight and you get a title shot.’ Then you won’t see one for two years.
“This right here is a guaranteed shot at one of the goals I want to accomplish, to be a two-division champion. It’s a golden ticket to that next step then getting the featherweight belt. Obviously, you can’t erase what the world saw Conor McGregor do to Aldo, but at this point in my career there’s a lot of great matchups that can happen, at 145, 155. I just got to stay focused and get my mind right and feel the way I’m feeling right now.”