UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is about as no-nonsense in character as you are likely to see among the promotion’s titlists
Following his defeat of then-champion Jose Aldo in Brazil at UFC 212 in the summer, two names were on the horizon for his first defense: Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson.
Edgar got the gig but was recently forced to withdraw from the fight with a facial injury. While many had expected Swanson to get the nod, he was one name among many and Holloway eventually signed a contract to rematch Aldo. The Hawaiian, when asked why he didn’t choose Swanson, explained that he didn’t pick an opponent at all (via MMAFighting):
“To be honest, they gave me a couple names, you know?” Holloway said. “They didn’t tell me, ‘Oh, you’re fighting this guy, this guy, and this guy.’ They said, ‘Here’s ideas.’ And my manager called me, ‘Frankie is hurt, and these are the UFC’s ideas.’ And I told my manager, ‘Call me back when you have a contract. I don’t care who the hell I’m fighting. Just make sure you get me a fight,’ and I hung up. And the next time he called me was, ‘It’s Jose Aldo. The contract is in the e-mail.’
“I signed the contract, I sent it back over. That’s what it was.”
Holloway didn’t name the fighters proposed but did explain why a fight with Swanson would play second-fiddle to a rematch with Aldo:
“The ‘45ers, most of the top ‘45ers, some ‘55ers, and that’s about it,” Holloway said. “The names that everyone has been throwing around is what I heard.
“At the end of the day, me and Cub fought a long time ago, and the first matchup of the fight with me and Aldo just happened,” Holloway said. “So at the end of the day, who knows what happens? Like I said, this is fighting, anything can happen. I don’t really judge my fights on what happened before. Now it’s time for a rematch.”