UFC 240: Max Holloway Could Very Well Be the New King of the North

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Canada’s biggest adopted star has moved south, leaving Max Holloway as one of the most popular foreign athletes in the nation as he heads into UFC 240.

Edmonton, AB — With Kawhi Leonard having abdicated his throne, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway may very well be the new King of the North. After all, Holloway has had some of his best performances in Canada — Anthony Pettis and Brian Ortega  among them. He’s adopted the country as the “10th Island” of his native Hawaii. Sure, he’s not here year round, but the fight business doesn’t require that.

The love affair has gone both ways, with Canadians quick to rally behind ‘Blessed.’  So while the UFC is looking to find the next Canadian star, in a sense, they already have one in an American. Canada has certainly embraced him. “It’s funny. I was talking to some of the commentators and the commentators said, ‘Look, we’re trying to figure out which Canadian we could use to push after GSP,'” Holloway told reporters including Cageside Press at Thursday’s media day, “‘but we’ve got an American that’s doing it.’ I’ve got dual citizenship pretty much. I’m excited to be a Canadian.”

He was even awarded some official Raptors merch after Thurday’s media day by MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn. Doesn’t get much more Canadian than that.

Meanwhile, the champ had his own style going at the event. “I went to Levi’s. We were going to pick up some things,” said Holloway. “But after picking it up, I was looking at my ninja outfit, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m about to be a ninja on these guys. I need to come back as a ninja.'”

“Look good, fight good. That’s what it is,” he added. “You get to these events and you finally get to dress up and not look totally crazy. I’m just excited that I get to show you guys my style, my flavor.”

With mini-Blessed (Holloway’s son, Rush) in tow, Holloway was in good spirits at the last stop prior to weigh-ins. “It’s exciting. Today’s face-off was fun. The other ones, I don’t care, I don’t put emotion in them. But this one is different. We’ve got weigh-ins tomorrow, we have one more, then after tomorrow, the next time I see him is going to be in the Octagon so I can’t wait. It’s exciting”

So what’s the key to beating Frankie, who Holloway acknowledged will some day be in the Hall of Fame? “I need to be the best version of me I know I can be,” answered the reigning featherweight champ. “That’s how much I respect this guy. He’s a legend. He’s a hall-of-famer. Nothing but respect for him, but at the end of the day, he’s still gotta see me. It’s an exciting time.”

Edgar, of course, is a fighter nearly every fan knows. And certainly every fighter, especially a younger star like Holloway. “I knew Frankie because UFC was around before WEC. He was a lighter guy doing it, he’s a small guy. And when WEC came around, they said, ‘Why [doesn’t Frankie] go over to WEC and fight at 145?'” Of course, Edgar never did, sticking it out fighting guys a fair bit larger than himself — and succeeding. “Like I said, he’s a legend. I opened the main card for him when he was fighting [Benson] Henderson trying to get his belt back. Years later, he’s still here, we’re main eventing a pay-per-view card for a title so kudos to him. It’s just exciting, it’s crazy. The guy’s been a top-five talent in any weight class he goes to. That’s a great task to handle.”

While Holloway towers over Edgar, the reach advantage the Hawaiian posses is minimal. “Everybody said, ‘You’re taller than these 145ers.’ But I’m like a T-rex, I have little short arms. [Jose] Aldo had a longer reach than me. All these guys have longer reach than me,” Holloway explained. “But it is what it is. My legs are long for some reason. Maybe I slept too much when I was younger. It’s just what it is. We’re here and we’ll figure it out. This game is all about inches and distance and fine lines.”

Watch the full UFC 240 media day press scrum with Max Holloway above!

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