Max Holloway has been operating at the sharp end of the UFC’s 145-pound division for years, and he has no intention of relinquishing his spot among the featherweight elite.
Holloway takes on surging English contender Arnold Allen in the main event of UFC Kansas City on Saturday night, and told reporters during media day that he is as motivated as ever. So much so, in fact, that he thought the mere question of his motivation was ludicrous to him.
“A lot of people keep telling me, ‘What’s your motivation for this fight?’” he said.
“It’s crazy to me. Are you insane? If being a champion wasn’t my motivation, being the greatest wasn’t my motivation, why would I take this fight?
“If I was just in it to just fight or even get money grabs, I’d take easier fights. I’m fighting the guy they’re talking about who is next in title contention, who a lot of guys thought he should have got the interim title, you know?
“At the end of the day, to be the best, you got to beat the best, and the best is ‘Blessed.’”
Holloway plans on turning back the challenge of Allen, who is undefeated in 10 fights in the UFC and whose recent performances have seen him make the jump from talented prospect to legitimate contender at 145 pounds.
It’s a matchup Holloway is focused on heading into the weekend, but the former champion has a bigger picture in his thoughts as he prepares to face the Englishman.
Alexander Volkanovski remains the dominant champion at 145 pounds, and despite losing three times to the Australian in title fights, Holloway still has designs on a fourth meeting, and redemption, as he looks to recapture the featherweight crown.
“People keep giving me a hard time, like how are we gonna do the fourth, this and that,” he said.
“I mean, watching Izzy last week was pretty inspiring. This is MMA. At the end of the day, anything can happen. I go out there, put a statement out there, who’s to say what happens?”
With Holloway being such a long-tenured star at 145 pounds, some are starting to question how much longer the Hawaiian will remain a factor at the sharp end of the division.
For Max, though, he’s convinced he’s still got what it takes to not just compete at 145, but to reign as champion once again.
“I guess I got a little Roy Jones in me right now, you know, ‘Y’all Must’ve Forgot.’” he said.
“MMA is a rough sport. We’re not basketball, we’re not baseball, we’re not football. Basketball, I can go to the line, shoot 0-12. Two days, three days later you got a game, I can go off for 32 points, you know?
“We’re in a sport where we fight, we’re lucky enough to fight twice a year and there’s months in between. Some people are lucky enough to fight in two weeks or whatever, but that’s a dime a dozen.
“We’re in a sport where that’s what it is, it takes time. You’re only as good as your last fight, and that’s what it is. I can’t wait to go out there and make this, my next fight, a great one.”