Pros React, Rather Hilariously, to Max Holloway Replacing Tony Ferguson at UFC 223

Max Holloway UFC 226 Francis Ngannou Derrick Lewis UFC 223 Brian Ortega
Credit: Dave Mandel/

There’s never a dull moment in the MMA world — as once again, a hotly anticipated main event is scrapped, with Tony Ferguson off UFC 223 due to injury.

What an incredible turn of events Sunday delivered. What many figured for an April Fool’s prank was confirmed by the UFC: that Tony Ferguson was injured, needing surgery, and had been replaced in the UFC 223 main event. His replacement: UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway. Holloway will now face Khabib Nurmagomedov for a lightweight title in Brooklyn, giving ‘Blessed’ a shot at becoming a two division champion. Which lightweight title is anyone’s guess, though Dana White has confirmed that Tony Ferguson’s interim strap will be going away.

Looming in the distance, of course, is Conor McGregor, the erstwhile lightweight champion. McGregor, of course, beat Holloway early in his UFC run. A rematch at lightweight could turn into a big draw for the Irish superstar (not that he needs much help to draw). A battle with Khabib Nurmagomedov, perhaps in Russia, is equally tantalizing.

Yet first, there’s UFC 223 to contend with. Just like everyone else, the pros were shocked — especially Kevin Lee, whose running commentary on the turn of events was rather humorous. Check out their reactions below!