Max Holloway withdrew from UFC 222 with an ankle injury and the current featherweight champion is aiming to return to action in either July or August.
Holloway caught his ankle in a bad position while preparing to fight Frankie Edgar in a title fight and the doctor’s never allowed him to compete.
“It was difficult, man,” Holloway said of pulling the plug.
“It was a tough pill to swallow, for sure.
“I’ve never, ever pulled out of a fight in my life, not even in my amateur days.”
Despite being the number one contender to Holloway’s crown, Edgar remained on the card and ended up losing to Brian Ortega.
Now, it seems a clash with Ortega is next for Holloway and the division kingpin is excited by what his latest rival brings to the table.
“It’s huge,” Holloway said of a potential match-up with Ortega.
“I’ll tell you this much, a lot of people are talking about this fight more than the Frankie fight, I feel like. So I can’t wait.
“The guy is looking super good. He’s looking super good, I can’t take nothing away from him.
“He can take a shot, so it should be a fun one.
“Two guys coming up and both in their prime, so people are going to be in for a great fight.”
When that fight will happen, Holloway isn’t entirely sure. If he doesn’t require surgery on his ankle, then July or August are likely return dates.
“My doctors, my physical therapists, my coaches, that’s all of the times that we’re looking at right now,” Holloway continued.
“They’re trying to see that July and August return, and that’s all I can do, be positive and keep training, keep getting this thing strong.”