Max Holloway has no fear facing Jose Aldo on his home soil and is hopeful that this weekend will mark the start of his reign over the UFC featherweight division.
Dread is not an uncommon feeling when an offer is made to face a fighter in their home country, but when Holloway was asked to face Aldo in Brazil, he couldn’t accept the bout quick enough.
Fighting in Brazil can be a daunting task for some foreigners, especially with the chants of “you’re going to die” being shouted in the arena throughout every public event and even louder on the event night.
It’s even harder when fighting someone like Aldo, who is one of the country’s most popular and well-recognized athletes. But none of that was going to deter Holloway from his mission to become the unified featherweight champion of the world.
“In the olden days, this is what kings would do. Real kings, they roll up with their soldiers and they roll up to the king’s village and they go dethrone them,” Holloway told the Fight Society podcast.
“That’s what I plan on doing. Going to Brazil, taking what’s mine, showing the world why I’m the best fighter at this weight class and why I’m going to be one of the best fighters in the world.
Holloway wouldn’t be the first fighter to have reservations about facing Aldo in Brazil, but the moment he received the bout agreement from the UFC, he signed it and immediately returned it.
Whether it’s the chants from the crowd, the long travel or the need to find the right foods during the week, Holloway never had any doubts about going to Brazil. The fact that Aldo would be there with the featherweight title on the line was all the incentive Holloway needed to show up.
“I ain’t worried about a damn thing,” Holloway said. “The thing that I worry about is myself. I have no control over the judges. I have no control over where we fight him. I’m just happy that he took the fight, we’ve got a date and he’s going to have to see me now in the cage come June 3. I’m ready.
“All those emotions, all those things, there’s nothing to be worried [about], I have no control over it. Why am I worrying about something I totally have no control over?”
In the months and weeks leading into the fight, Holloway had a lot to say about Aldo, including his infamous “Where’s Waldo?” campaign where he intimated that the longest-reigning featherweight champion in UFC history was avoiding a fight with him.
Holloway blasted Aldo for cherry picking his fights when the Brazilian said at one point last year that he’d rather fight Anthony Pettis because he’s a bigger name in the sport than the man who will challenge him at UFC 212.
There’s nothing that Holloway said that he regrets, but he makes it clear that despite all the harsh words, he still has the utmost respect for Aldo as a fighter and champion. Still, Holloway knows taunting Aldo was a great way to ensure he got this fight, but it’s what he’ll do in the Octagon on Saturday night that will cement his legacy as champion.
“I did a lot of talking but all the talking is done. Now we’ve got the fight June 3. I hope he comes prepared because I’m coming prepared and that’s what we’re going to do. I respect the guy but at the end of the day, it’s a new era,” Holloway said. “It’s time to show the world who Max Holloway is and if they don’t know who Max Holloway is, they’re about to find out June 3.
“He’s a legend. He’s done a lot for the sport. It is what it is. When we get locked in the cage, I don’t respect nobody. I don’t respect what you did.”
Regardless of the trash talk or location for this fight, Holloway knows it all boils down to his opportunity to unify the featherweight title and cement himself as one of the best fighters in the world.
Holloway got here by going on an unprecedented 10-fight win streak but with one more victory he’ll go down in the UFC record books as only the third ever undisputed champion in the featherweight division.
“This is history. This is part of history. People are going to read about this years from now and people going to watch this fight years from now. This is history,” Holloway stated.
“To be the best you’ve got to beat the best. I’ve said it before, you want to fight the best, come fight ‘Blessed’.”