Come UFC 251 this Saturday, Max Holloway has a chance to establish the second Blessed era.
The first, of course, saw his rise through the featherweight division, his emergence as a bonafide UFC star at home and abroad, and his dominance over 145lb legend Jose Aldo. Not to mention impressive wins over Frankie Edgar, Brian Ortega and more.
Holloway’s rematch with Alexander Volkanovski comes under very different circumstances than the pair’s first meeting. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Holloway’s training has included sessions on Zoom, with his gym shut down. But eventually, the featherweight said Tuesday during the first of three media days for UFC 251, he hopes this will all be part of the distant past.
“Hopefully we can move on. There’s this pandemic going on right now, and hopefully we can move on from it. Hopefully we can find a vaccine, and people can start getting healed,” said Holloway. “Or we’ll at least have something to help people get healed. That’s my best-case scenario.”
Holloway (21-5) took on a leadership role in the early days of the pandemic, speaking out in support of social distancing, pointing to his own grandmother as all the motivation he needed.
Speaking to Cageside Press during Tuesday’s media day, Holloway said the response to his statement was respectful. “There was actually a big, real respect of it. They read my posts, and they gave me my space. We all knew what was important during that time. They were saying social distance, and this pandemic is no joke, and they know,” he stated. “There’s a lot of elderly people in Hawaii, and a lot of young people too. I know they don’t want to put their family at risk, or my family. So respect to them.”
For those who don’t actually believe Holloway did some of his training via Zoom, “Blessed” set the record straight.”
“I seriously did the Zoom stuff. I was a big advocate of staying home, being smart, making all the right decisions,” he said. “Especially with the lockdown in Hawaii, it was super-serious when this pandemic happened. It was serious, I’m serious about it.”
For those that still don’t believe him, Holloway pointed out that “I had four title fights in a matter of 12 months. I got a bunch of experience. I don’t need sparring. I’ve been sparring since I was 16, I’m 28 now. I’ve been sparring a bunch. It was just good to reset. It was like a hard reset for me, and I feel great.”
Max Holloway returns this Saturday at UFC 251 in the co-main event, looking to avenge his previous loss to the Australian and reclaim his title.