Dan Ige was most certainly an interested party when it came to Max Holloway’s fight with Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 251 over the weekend.
Ige (14-2), who features in his first UFC main event this week at UFC Fight Island 1 (UFC on ESPN 13), is a fellow Hawaiian and former training partner of Holloway. And like many others, he thought “Blessed” won the rematch with Volkanovski, regardless of what the judges saw.
“I thought it was a great fight. I thought Max had won, but that’s how it goes sometimes, Ige observed. “He’ll always be a champion. Max has five belts at home but you know, I don’t think that’s the end of Max. I definitely think he’ll have a title again in his future, but it is what it is, as he would say.”
Like many of us, Ige awarded Holloway rounds 1-3. Maybe even round four, he suggested, qualifying that statement by adding “I’m biased obviously, I was rooting for the Hawaiian.”
While Holloway didn’t get the result he wanted, Ige is hoping it will be a different story Wednesday night. Or Thursday morning, locally, on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi when he takes on Calvin Kattar.
The Kattar fight was not one that was on his radar two months ago when he defeated Edson Barboza in Florida, Ige admitted.
“At the time no. I was thinking maybe I’d end up fighting him down the line, because he was a bit higher than me and I thought he’d maybe wait and fight someone above him,” stated Ige. “Because he’s deserved it. And he’s earned it. But you know, much respect to him for taking a fight against me and I’m excited to share the cage with him and go out there and put on a show.”
Of course, it will be a show in an empty venue. No fans, due to the raging coronavirus pandemic. But, borrowing that quote from fellow Hawaiian Holloway, “it is what is is.” Ige knows that the pandemic has opened doors as well.
“A lot of guys have to sit out and it’s unfortunate for them, some guys can’t travel, but I’m taking full advantage and this is my time to get ahead and make a name for myself,” he explained. “And I got a title to win.”
Watch the full UFC Fight Island 1 virtual media day press scrum with Dan Ige above.