UFC 231’s Max Holloway: Blessed with Heart, Cursed by Health

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Max Holloway UFC
Max Holloway Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has shown tremendous heart throughout his career, but his health has been nothing but a curse of late.

Max Holloway’s run as the UFC Featherweight King has been anything but ‘Blessed.’ That’s a major concern as we head into UFC 231.

A 12-fight win streak made us forget about losses to Conor McGregor, Dennis Bermudez, and Dustin Poirier and back-to-back stoppage wins against former featherweight champion Jose Aldo allowed us to catch a glimpse of what a healthy Max Holloway could do against elite competition.

2018 made us realize that we may have been sold a bill of goods on this whole Max Holloway deal as far as his health is concerned.

In 2018 alone, Max Holloway has pulled out of fights against Frankie Edgar, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Brian Ortega — all UFC championship fights.

Max’s legs weren’t ready to go against Frankie Edgar, an unhealthy weight cut led to the New York State Athletic Commission yanking Holloway from UFC 223 in Brooklyn, and the worst was yet to come.

Days before the scheduled UFC Featherweight Championship match between Holloway and Ortega was set to go down at UFC 226, Max was pulled from the fight for exhibiting ‘concussion-like symptoms.’ Holloway looked so visibly ill ahead of UFC 226 that former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping told him he looked ‘sleepy’ and ‘drained’ during fight week live on-air:

A visibly fatigued Holloway zombie’d his way through the interview and was pulled from the fight a day later.

When the reigning featherweight champ is vocal about possibly moving up a weight class due to medical reasons, perhaps that’s a sign he should no longer be fighting there.

Questions about the technical aspects of this fight have been replaced with inquiries about Max Holloway’s well-being and that signals the first chink in the king’s armor.

  • Can Max Holloway safely cut to 145 pounds?
  • Has Max Holloway recovered from his concussion-like symptoms he had less than six months ago?
  • Has Max Holloway been able to adequately prepare for this bout, or is he just showing up on fight day because otherwise he’ll be forced to forfeit his coveted UFC Featherweight Championship?
  • Will Max Holloway’s Striking and Takedown Defense be enough to overwhelm a comparatively much healthier Brian Ortega?

Ahead of UFC 231, I fear our young Featherweight King’s time on the throne may be over before it ever truly began.

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