Published on December 12th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford0
UFC Featherweight Champion, Max Holloway On UFC 245 Card, “Christmas Is December 14th This Year, Guys!”
UFC featherweight champion, Max Holloway set to defend his title on Saturday night against once beaten, Alexander Volkanovski.
Max Holloway has earned the right to be called one of the top pound- for- pound fighter’s in the world. The UFC featherweight champion has welcomed all comers. Not only has the featherweight champion moved up in weight to challenge himself, he sports one of the most impressive resumes of any fighter on the UFC’s current roster. His toughness and durability are constantly put on display when he performs inside of the Octagon. On Saturday, December 14th, Holloway puts his 21-4 record on the line as well as his featherweight title, when he faces 20-1, Australian native, Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski is currently on a 16-fight winning streak and coming off of the biggest win of his career (unanimous decision over Jose Aldo).
I recently caught up with, “Blessed” to discuss his UFC 245 title defense, what motivates him to face top opposition and much more!
Max, how’s it going, my man?
Max Holloway: Percy is such a sick name. I like that.
(Laughing). It’s not as cool as, Max, but I appreciate it, brother.
Max Holloway: (Laughing). It reminds me of, Percy Harvin when he played in Minnesota. But I’m feeling good, man. Feeling like a champ. Just a couple of days out. I’m sure you played in sports, so you know how anxious it is and in a couple of more days, I get to go out there and do my thing.
Any fan of combat sports, Christmas is early this year. What an amazing card UFC 245 is. How does it feel to be a part of such an amazing event?
Max Holloway: I’m blessed. It all in my nickname. To be a part of this card… you got the GOAT on this card. Two division champ, two-way champ, Amanda Nunez killing it. And then you got whatever is going on with the 170-men and then I get to fight. It’s just exciting times. We couldn’t do UFC Hawaii, so we’re bringing UFC Hawaii to Las Vegas, and I can’t wait to have fun.
Your fanfare and your following continue to grow, a lot of it is because you’re a real dude and the rest of it revolves around, win, lose or draw, Max Holloway lays it all on the line. With the amount of talent on this card, I’m sure you are looking to steal the show on the 14th?
Max Holloway: Yeah for sure. Every time you get on big cards like this, you want the spotlight a little bit longer than other guys. But I go out there, the hard work is done, and now it’s the easy part. If you’re trying to get someone into watching mixed martial arts and following the sport, tell them to watch one of my fights. It’s fun. You might get a finger point, I might be slugging for 10-seconds, you might have an absolute war, or I might go out there and do some ninja stuff. That’s exciting times and if I can steal the show, I steal the show.
Or like your viral gif, you can show your opponent how to block shots during the middle of the fight (laughing).
Max Holloway: (Laughing). You can teach people midway through the fight too. That always helps.
Alexander Volkanovski is 20-1, seems to be a very strong guy, his entries into his takedowns are smooth and he has a solid overhand right. What do you see when you watch him and what are your thoughts of him as an opponent?
Max Holloway: It’s just exciting times ahead. Georges St. Pierre once said, “It’s always easy to earn something, but when you’re re-earning something that you already have, over and over again, it gets quite tiring.” So, me and my team, we like to sit down and look for questions, and we like to answer them. Like you said, he presents a lot of questions; a lot of power, the takedowns, his reach and how strong he punches, his pace and his cardio. And those things excite me. The beautiful thing about this sport, when we get in there, it’s only me, him and the referee. All the talking is done and December 14th when we get inside of those Octagon doors, I can’t wait to go out there and show out.
His last and sole loss was back in 2013. Being that it has been so long since he’s had doubt placed in his mind, it is important for you to put doubt in his mind right away?
Max Holloway: Yeah! Everybody keeps talking about that. He’s been undefeated for forever. I think he’s on a 16-fight winning streak or something like that. At the end of the day I’m 0-0. I don’t care. I don’t care what streak I’m on, I don’t care that I’m the champ. We’re 0-0 and we attack every fight like it’s a brand-new fight and that’s the way you’re supposed to do it. I just can’t wait to go out there and mix it up with him. He thinks he has answers, that’s a beautiful thing, we get to find out in less than 10-days, so I’m counting it down.
Your career as a whole speaks for itself in terms of opposition. Your last 9-opponents, Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas, Anthony Pettis, Jose Aldo twice, Brian Ortega, Dustin Poirier and Frankie Edgar. You are either crazy or destined for greatness.
Max Holloway: (Laughing), I think it’s a mixture of crazy and determined to try and be great, ya know. You gotta have it. You gotta look at these guys. The things that push me to the next level is guys like, Kobe [Bryant], guys like, MJ… Michael Jordan; the GOAT’s. Guys like LeBron, Serena Williams, Drake; even rappers. In anything you do you aim to be great. And you think, these guys are crazy. It’s only crazy because people don’t understand how great you want to be. You have to be obsessed with this. You have to go out there and show the world, so I think it’s a little bit of both. You have to have both to conquer everything that you want to conquer.
Your poise and calmness inside of the Octagon is one of the key things that I think separates you from your opponents. Do you feel that will be the key at UFC 245 as well, or is that something you will figure out on fight night?
Max Holloway: We’ll see what happens. That’s one of my fun things. I tell everybody all the time; you watch every single walkout and you see big yellow grill. That’s my mouthpiece. I’m smiling. Everyone asks me, “Why are you smiling? You’re about to go get punched in the face.” It’s like, look, I get to not feel bad for 25-minutes. Finally, I get to punch someone and get paid for it. when I’m punching my friends in training camp, I don’t feel good. I’m not happy if we get hurt and this and that. For 25-minutes I get to let it all go and look the consequences in the eye afterwards. It’s just a time where I feel at home, I feel poised. I think some people are just boring and I think some people was put in this world to do certain things, I was put on this world to fight. At the end of the day, I don’t know what separates me from him on fight night, but if you guys want to find out, ESPN+ Click on that link. I think it’s $59 or $69.99. You can see it live. The card is stacked. We got legends, we got GOAT’s, we got Aldo, Faber is back, and you may see new faces arise as champions. We have championship fights. It’s stacked.
I have recently noticed a lot of fighters who lose their titles say it’s a relief, they didn’t like being champion anymore because of the obligations and pressure. That seems to be a perverse way of thinking. What are your thoughts on fighter’s saying things like that?
Max Holloway: I hear some people say that, but I’m not going to knock them. Whatever they think they need or want is on them. At the end of the day, I love this chaos. This lifestyle is crazy. You gotta do certain stuff. I knew what I signed up for. When you become a champion, the media goes up, the travel goes up, the fights go up, the pressure goes up; all of these things go up. Me and my team prepared for this. I have some of the best coaches in the world, best manager in the world, and they really prepped me for these moments. I’m grateful for them. It is a team effort. Everybody always sees me. When I go out there, they are putting the belt around me, but I’m the “Blessed Express.” I’ll give you guys a little info, I’m not the conductor of it. At the end of the day, I got a couple of guys that’s driving it. I just sit back and do my part.
You have been a very active fighter. Was staying busy intentional or just perfect case scenarios where fights fell into place for you?
Max Holloway: I like staying active. This will be my fourth fight in a calendar year. I love fighting 3 to 4 times. Now, a lot more business stuff is popping up, and we will see what happens. But I’m a fighter. The thing that you gotta do… LeBron once said, “You gotta keep the main thing.” The main thing for me is fighting. I love it. It makes me stay in the gym. It makes me become a better person because I’m in the gym and on this martial artist path and I just can’t wait.
You have been consistent for a long time. What are the keys to your consistency, because one thing about you, win, lose, or draw, your performances have been consistent?
Max Holloway: I credit it to my team. I credit it to my team. My coaches, my family, my friends and my fans; everybody. Even all the bad stuff that goes on, it all has a mixture to see what you see here. I wouldn’t go back in time and change nothing. I wouldn’t go back and change a win, I wouldn’t go back and change a loss because without those questions being answered, I don’t know what guy would be here. I’m a true believer in everything happens for a reason, and that’s why I’m here. I gotta give a lot of credit to these guys. My coaches and even my family members. There is so much behind the scenes that you guys just don’t see that they help me out with, and I feel real grateful for them.
I’m sure Volkanovski will pose different challenges than anyone you have faced, but do you feel you have seen some of what he brings to the table in other opponents or is he someone you will have to adjust to during fight time?
Max Holloway: That’s a beautiful thing about people, they say, “Max, I see this about him, and I see that about him,” and I can say I see him in other fighters, but guess what, there is only one, Alex Volkanovski, there is only one me. So, we get in there and we figure it out. That’s what we do. We go out there, we’ll feel him out, figure him out, and go from there. I hate when people tell me, I fought this guy like this or like that. Yeah, but at the end of the day he ain’t me. It’s really different when you get into that Octagon for sure.
You’re even calm during interviews a week from the fight. I feel like we are just having a conversation and that’s a great quality to have, champ.
Max Holloway: (Laughing). This is par for the course right now. You don’t have to say nothing. If there is any fighter that tells you they don’t get nervous no more, slap that fighter across their head. Every time I’m in the back and they tell me, “Yo Holloway, 5-minutes. You’re up, you’re on deck.” I get nervous because I’m a human just like everybody else. But it’s just nerves… it’s not really nervous-nervous, but just your body letting you know that you are alive and it’s time to go do a thing.
You seem to really enjoy the process of everything that comes along with fighting. Is that an accurate statement?
Max Holloway: Yes, that’s super accurate. I love the process. I love this stuff. It’s a hate/love relationship. I hate training so much that I love it. It’s weird and crazy, but I love the entire process. I love that I gotta give up my sweets. I got a sweet tooth. I love how I gotta eat healthy. I love getting out of camp and eating candy, and then going into training the first week after missing so long and being dead tired. You gotta love the process. You gotta love what you do. They say, “Find something you love to do, and you won’t work another day in your life,” and that’s what I did.
I appreciate your time; good luck and I cannot wait to see this event. Is there anything else you want to add?
Max Holloway: I’m just excited to be a part of this card, this is the biggest card of the year and like you said, Christmas came early. Christmas is December 14th this year, guys. Let’s get it! Thank you for your time, Percy.